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Video about domestic violence
8 years ago

Please watch this video about domestic violence in the Canadian Arctic:

Thank you for taking the time to do this, and have a good weekend everyone.

End the total abortion ban in Nicaragua
8 years ago


End the total abortion ban in Nicaragua


All forms of abortion have been criminalized in Nicaragua since July 2008.
Women and girls who seek an abortion, even those pregnant as a result of rape or those whose lives or health are in danger if the pregnancy continues, now face long prison sentences.
The law also leaves women and girls who have suffered a spontaneous miscarriage vulnerable to prosecution, since they may be wrongly suspected of having induced an abortion.
Health professionals who provide abortion services to save women’s and girls’ lives and health face the same punishment –  even though the Nicaraguan Ministry of Health's recommended best practice for the management of specific complications during pregnancy is termination.
By banning access to abortion services to victims of sexual violence, the law condemns all pregnant rape victims, even those who are still children themselves, to carry such pregnancies to term regardless of their wishes or the risks to their physical or mental wellbeing.
For many child rape victims the abuser is a member of their own family, meaning that the current law obliges girls in many cases to give birth to their own brother or sister.
The impact of such draconian bans falls most severely on women and girls from less affluent backgrounds. Women with few economic resources and fewer safe options may feel compelled to act outside the law and seek a “back street” abortion, endangering their health and risking imprisonment. Laws like the total abortion ban in Nicaragua lead to an increase in the number of such unsafe and illegal abortions.
The criminalization of abortion and the denial of access to safe and legal abortion services in cases where continuing with pregnancy endangers a woman’s or girl’s life or health, or where the pregnancy is the result of rape, is a grave human rights violation.
The Nicaraguan government has taken an extremely regressive step with the introduction of this law. The authorities must take urgent action to repeal the law, and to guarantee access to safe and legal abortion services where continuing with a pregnancy endangers a woman’s or girl’s life or health, or where the woman or girl is the victim of rape.
On 28 September, Amnesty International is adding its voice to a regional call for the decriminalization of abortion in Latin America and the Caribbean. Women and girls in Nicaragua and throughout the region have the right to life, to live with dignity, and not to be obliged under the threat of imprisonment to continue with pregnancies that are the result of sexual violence or that put their health or lives at risk.

8 years ago

I'm sorry you feel that way Michael P.  but I am not going to cherrypick what part of the history of this thread to delete. 

Violence against women continues to be a human rights crime, in so many ways and I for one am glad that Amnesty International continues to post informantion and actions on this important subject. 

I am figuring to start a new thread for this one soon.  So I do suggest that you something more productive with your time than worry about a bit of "clutter"

a little
8 years ago

house cleaning on this page would be nice to much ''clutter''

Amnesty International refuses to forget me.
8 years ago

In 2007, armed soldiers broke into my house in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), held my children hostage and assaulted two of them. They did this not to rob my family, but to punish me for providing services to women who are sexually assaulted.
Despite my having identified the attackers to the police, no action has been taken against them. I continue to face threats because I refuse to stop fighting for women's rights.
Amnesty International members have sent thousands of letters to the president of the DRC urging him to investigate the attack on my family, including the sexual assault of my daughter. Members have also sent me numerous letters of solidarity, inspiring me to continue my work to eradicate sexual violence.
Join Amnesty International today to ensure their work in all areas of the world continues. If you donate by September 30th, a generous donor will match your gift, dollar-for-dollar.
Congolese women who defend human rights have paid a heavy price for their actions. Many have been murdered, arrested, intimidated, threatened, tortured or disappeared. Others have been forced from their homes, their cities and their country to save their lives. Family members have also been harassed, intimidated and held against their will.
I will not be safe until all Congolese women are safe. Amnesty International understands that building international solidarity for women's rights is essential to bring change to the DRC.
Amnesty is a driving force behind the International Violence Against Women Act (IVAWA), which aims to revolutionize the way U.S. foreign policy confronts abuses like domestic violence, rape, honor killings and human trafficking worldwide. If passed, IVAWA will support measures to prevent violence and bring perpetrators to justice. It could help people like me assist survivors around the world.
It is Amnesty International's commitment to fighting human rights violations everywhere that inspires me to pass on the candle to you.
Stand with me in support of Amnesty.
Join today.
Justine Masika Bihamba

As a woman, I can't afford justice
8 years ago
"My husband and I got married in 2008. At first everything was fine, then one day we had a fight and he beat me..." – Margaret, Uganda
When Margaret told police officers about the abuse she suffered at the hands of her husband, they asked her to pay $10 for fuel so they could go and arrest him. She didn't have enough money, so they turned her away.
For many women, the cycle of violence begins the same way it did for Margaret in Uganda – an abusive husband. But an increasing number of women are finding that the abuse doesn't always end when they reach out for help…sometimes it gets much worse.
Although Margaret's husband beat her again, she says, "I gave up going to the police because they always ask for money which I don't have."
The word on Capitol Hill is that there are just a few weeks remaining to persuade more of our elected officials to take a stand for women like Margaret, who are targets for abuse and discrimination.
If we don't act fast, then we will miss this chance to help women trapped in desperate situations – and there is no guarantee we will have another opportunity like it!
Stopping this cycle of violence begins with people like you and me.
Please send this brief message to your members of Congress asking them to cosponsor the International Violence against Women Act.
The International Violence against Women Act (IVAWA) is one of the best chances we have at finally confronting horrific forms of abuse like domestic violence, rape, honor killings and human trafficking. It supports the legal reform and training so badly needed so that when women like Margaret report violent crimes, they are taken seriously.
Just this summer we saw President Obama sign the historic Tribal Law and Order Act into law – signaling hope for countless Native American and Alaska Native women caught in what seemed to be an endless maze of violence and injustice. With your help, we can take steps to ensure that women worldwide know that feeling of greater security and access to justice.
A third of the Senate and a quarter of the House – have already been compelled to act from hearing women's stories of violence, torture, neglect and even death. They signed on to support IVAWA because they want to help us break this cycle of violence. And we are truly so close!
But we need more members of Congress willing to follow their lead if IVAWA is going to stand a chance at being voted on before the end of the year.
Please take action now to break the cycle of violence and abuse against women and girls around the world.
Thank You,
Daphne Jayasinghe
Advocacy Director, Women's Human Rights
Amnesty International USA
Urge Congress to Help End Violence Against Women
8 years ago


Urge Congress to Help End Violence Against Women


You can help end violence against women. Take action!




Sponsored by: Oxfam America



Sex trafficking, rape during times of war, and domestic violence are destructive forces not just for women, but for entire communities. Congress has the power to speak out against this systemic violence against women, and rally support for innovative programs that decrease acts of violence. Their leadership could play a vital role in supporting the work that Oxfam does in many places around the world.


Please ask your legislators to make women's safety an urgent priority. This leadership could mean the difference between life and death for a woman or girl. Sign the petition now.


Dear Decision-maker,


In her lifetime, one in three women globally will suffer from the first-hand effects of violence. This violence against women is a global health crisis and human rights violation that contributes directly to instability and insecurity throughout our world.


I am asking you to take a stand for women.


You have the power to speak out against this systemic violence against women, and rally support for innovative programs that decrease acts of violence.


I'm urging you to make it a priority to:


· Improve our government's ability to respond to systemic violence against women.

· Provide aid to women's groups on the ground working to help survivors.

· Support innovative programs that decrease acts of violence.

· Focus resources on prevention and ensure that dollars are used in the most effective ways possible.


Your leadership could inspire the international community to stand up and demand better for women around the world.


Please make a difference in the lives of millions of women and girls by making their safety a priority today.


Information: Safe Schools
8 years ago


All girls have the right to an education


This right is essential not only for girls to grow and learn, but also so that they are able to be independent and make their own choices in their lives.


Schools are not just places to learn and realize potential - some are also places of fear and violence. Some girls face violence at school at the hands of teachers, school staff or other students.


Violence stops girls going to school. Girls must be able to pursue their education in an environment which is:

  • Safe
  • Respectful
  • Non-discriminatory


Join forces in the global call for violence-free schools for girls. You have the power to make schools safe for girls!


What you can do


Read the comic: 'Breaking Barriers'


Download Safe Schools banners and post them on your web page


Find out more


Read the global report Safe Schools: Every Girl's Right  


Fact sheets (PDFs):


Violence as an obstacle to girl's education

Girl's access to education and schools fees

Discrimination, harassment, and violence against girls in schools

Girl's education and HIV/AIDS


Read key facts about violence against girls in schools 


Deadly delivery
8 years ago
Linda Coale died of an embolism a week after giving birth via c-section. The hospital failed to tell her the warning signs even though she was high risk.
Linda Coale, a healthy, vibrant 35-year-old woman, gave birth to a baby boy, Benjamin, by c-section in September 2007.
One week later, she died following a blood clot.
Neither the infant welcome packet nor her discharge papers contained detailed information about warning signs and symptoms of serious blood clots (deep vein thrombosis), even though Linda was at high risk because of her pregnancy combined with her age and the surgery.
The packet did contain information on how to acclimate a pet to a new baby.
"I know you can 'what if' until the end of the world, but knowing Linda was once an Emergency Medical Technician, if those discharge papers had said it could be a sign of a blood clot, in my heart of hearts I believe that she would have acted on it," said Linda's twin sister, Lori.
"My parents had to bury a child," Lori added.
Pregnant women and new mothers like Linda are falling through huge gaps in our maternal health care system.
All women, including Linda, have a right to a safe childbirth, yet women in the United States are at greater risk of maternal death than those in forty other countries.
It's time to do something about this silent killer. Contact Congress today.
We are in a maternal health care crisis. More than two women die every day from pregnancy-related causes. Severe complications are up 25 percent, now over 34,000 each year. The situation for pregnant women of color is even more acute.
We have slipped dangerously backward.
Amnesty International traveled all over the country to capture and share stories like Linda's. Our Deadly Delivery report documents discrimination and egregious systemic failures. It reveals an inexcusable failure to defend a woman's right to a safe birth.
Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius has the authority to dramatically improve conditions for pregnant women and reduce maternal mortality in the U.S. Our government has the obligation to protect pregnant women and guarantee a health care system that ensures their rights universally and equitably.
Contact your Representative to help press Secretary Sebelius into action.
It's astonishing that the US has fallen into this crisis when we spend so much on health care. The way out requires a strong, loud push now to set the solution in motion.
Please stand up today so that we can save lives by protecting women's human rights.

Sameer Dossani
Director, Demand Dignity Campaign
Amnesty International USA
8 years ago

Thanks Davida,

 This cant go on as it is a disgrace



AI - Blog
8 years ago

Sexual violence in Haitian camps of the displaced, beyond the numbers

By Chiara Liguori Caribbean researcher for Amnesty International


Since the first days of the earthquake, many humanitarian and human rights organizations, including Amnesty International, have issued warnings about the increased risk of gender based and sexual violence.

The risks are well founded. Thousands of displaced people are sleeping in public spaces in just one square meter or even less; women are obliged to bath almost naked under the eyes of the other residents and passers-by; children sleep alone at night because they are unaccompanied or their mothers are working outside the camps in order to feed them.
However, since the earthquake women’s organizations have registered a drastic reduction in reported cases of sexual violence. The self-organized camp management committees confirmed to Amnesty International that sexual violence is not an issue and that security commissions to patrol the camps at night have been set up. Most of the women in the camps interviewed by us did not express concerns about sexual violence.

So what is happening we asked ourselves. Have we got it wrong? Have we over-estimated the risks? Or, is it that women are too scared to report? Are we talking to the right people?

It was Malya, one of the co-founders of KOFAVIV, a women’s grassroots organization dealing with the medical and psychological needs of rape victims, who started to clarify the issue. Malya’s house and office were destroyed in the earthquake, together with Eramithe, also a KOFAVIV co-founder, she is living in Champ de Mars, one of the biggest makeshift camps in Port-au-Prince.


Even though they have lost all their belongings, they have not lost their will to fight sexual violence against women and girls. In two months, 19 women and girls living in their section of the camp have reported cases of rape and sexual assault. Even though they encouraged women to lodge complaints with the police, none of them would. They were too afraid, either because the attackers were living in the camp, or in nearby areas, or because they had no other place to go. Not trusting the police to protect them and knowing that the justice system is paralysed since the earthquake, they preferred to keep quiet. Those who have relatives in other parts of the country chose to quit. The victims are fleeing while the perpetrators are still around, probably looking for the next victim.

In the absence of a centralized system for recording cases of sexual violence, grassroots organizations working in the camps are the only source of information. Living alongside women and girls in the camps, they are able to identify who needs help.

Margaret, a social worker for the organization Zanmi Timoun (Friends of children) has reached out to dozens of girls living in camps who have been victims of rape and incest either before or after the quake. We interviewed 5 of them.

The sadness of these girls, their low voices, their pains and their fears speak clearer and louder than any data or number. One of them is pregnant, another is afraid of being pregnant, some are terrified of being killed by their attackers. They look resigned and submissive. When we asked them what they want most in life, all of them assertively said they wanted to continue to go to school. One of them gave us a message to pass to the authorities: “You need to protect the girls, because I don’t want anybody to suffer what I have been going through”.

Raped, beaten, never forgotten
8 years ago
No more sweeping brutal beatings and rapes under the rug in Mexico.
Mexico's Attorney General's office has identified 34 police officers who are suspects in the rape, assault and brutal treatment of dozens of women. But sheer neglect from officials in Mexico's highest ranks has delayed justice for nearly four years.

There's no better day than today – International Women's Day – to signal to Mexican officials that the rights of these women will never be forgotten. Help us send a tidal wave of emails supporting these women to the offices of Mexico's President, ambassador to the U.S. and the governor of Mexico State!

Police detained the women during a local protest in May 2006. Some women who weren't even involved in the demonstrations were swept up in the massive arrests. They were beaten and herded into police vans. On the way to prison, officers took turns sexually assaulting the women.
Nearly four years later, they are still waiting for justice.

Accountability for these crimes may be moving at a glacial speed, but your messages do have power. The former federal Attorney General had dragged his feet on this issue for months. At the time of the attacks, he was in charge of the same police officers who were implicated in the assaults. But because of you, his office was compelled to identify 34 suspects – bringing us one giant step closer to finally prosecuting those responsible.

Even though his office has now punted responsibility to the state of Mexico, which is the governor's jurisdiction, it's clear that we're putting pressure on all the right places.

Help us keep the heat on Mexican officials to ensure justice for the women of Atenco!

We can't let this opportunity slide through our fingers. The crimes have been exposed. The suspected culprits have been named. Now is the time to uphold and protect human rights!

Thank you for standing with us,

Michael O'Reilly
Campaign Director, Individuals at Risk
Amnesty International USA

From AI Yesterday
9 years ago

Hopefully you've heard the good news by now – yesterday, because of your fast-acting calls and emails sent to Congress during the final moments before a critical vote on women's human rights, the U.S. House of Representatives voted to make the U.S. Office for Global Women's Issues permanent.

This major victory just proves that when you speak up for human rights, the people in power do listen. It may have taken us a lot of effort to seal the deal, but today, the fight seems well worth it. Because of you, the doors are now opened for major advancements in combating violence against women and improving women's health care, education, and economic stability.

Thank you for taking action to help empower women worldwide! We'll continue to keep you posted as the bill moves on to the Senate before finally landing on President Obama's desk.

In Solidarity,

Katie, Betsy, Chris, Meredith and the rest of the Stop Violence Against Women Campaign team

International Violence Against Women Act
9 years ago
A vote before the House tomorrow could decide the fate of a key provision of the International Violence Against Women Act that you and I have been fighting to get passed for the last two years.

The vote would greatly restrict the activities of the new Office of Global Women's Issues. If the House votes to restrict the work of this new office, we'll lose our chance to move forward on this key component of the International Violence Against Women Act.

Oppositional groups are spreading misinformation about what this office would do. They claim that this legislation would hurt women's rights, more than help. Nothing could be further from the truth.

This new office is about:
  • helping the U.S. meet its foreign policy goals of economic stability and poverty reduction
  • advancing the global fight against the HIV/AIDS epidemic and other health crises, and
  • pushing the United States to finally take a leadership role in the fight to end violence against women and girls globally

We have to fight back if we're going to swing Wednesday's vote back in our favor.

Please pick up your phone RIGHT NOW,
dial 202 224 3121, ask to be connected to your Representative, and tell them this one thing:

"Hi, I'm calling in support of an Office for Global Women's Issues – without restrictions – because I want a better life for women worldwide."

We're down to the final stretch. Congress needs to hear that you care about this issue. Please call your Representatives now and help make a difference in the lives of women worldwide.

Thanks for standing with us.

Katie, Betsy, Jen, Meredith and the rest of the IVAWA team

Make it the best Mother's Day
9 years ago
Ground-breaking legislation that could help end violence against women around the world is in Senator Kerry's hands.

This Mother's Day you have the opportunity to give the greatest gift by defending the rights of mothers everywhere. Send a message to the Congressional leadership to />reintroduce the International Violence Against Women Act by Mother's Day, May 10.

Amnesty International USA has worked with a coalition of supporters to draft the International Violence Against Women Act. Last week, we sent Senators Kerry and Lugar, the Chair and Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, a final draft of the legislation. Now, it's up to them to say "yes" to ending violence against women –  walk the bill over to the floor of the Senate and reintroduce it this week.

Let them know you think that ending violence against women should be a priority.

The International Violence Against Women Act (IVAWA) is an unprecedented effort by the United States to address violence against women globally. One out of every three women worldwide will be physically or sexually abused during her lifetime. Violence against women and girls is a violation of human rights. Violence and abuse devastates the lives of millions of women, knows no national or cultural barriers, and most importantly, it must be stopped.

Send a message to Kerry and Lugar that you want to put an end to this epidemic of violence against women. After you take action you will be able to send a Mother's Day card to your friends and family encouraging them to take action as well.

Together we can defend the rights of mothers and daughters everywhere.

Thanks for your support,

Meredith Larson
Director, Stop Violence Against Women Campaign
Amnesty International USA

Thank you for paying attention to these actions


9 years ago

POLICE IN UK, CANADA AND USA ARE USING HIDDEN LONG-DISTANCE CAMERAS FROM STRATEGIC POSITIONS TO TARGET NON-WHITE WOMEN AND MEN AND THOSE WHO EXPOSE THEIR UGLY DEEDS. USING THESE CAMERAS, THEY BEAM THE VIDEO IMAGES TO THEIR POLICE CARS ROAMING AROUND WASTEDLY. THIS REFLECTS THE COWARDICE OF THE POLICE HARASSING THOSE WHO EXPOSE THE UGLY DEEDS OF POLICE HARASSMENT AND INVASION INTO PRIVACY OF PEOPLE AT HOME AND WORK. THEY USE NEIGHBORS AND IMMORAL, NOTHING-BETTER-TO-DO PEOPLE TO HARASS FOREIGNERS USING VISIBLE AND INVISIBLE AUDIO AND VIDEO DEVICE BUGS, WALL SEE THROUGH TECHNOLOGIES, OFFLINE COMPUTER HACKING USING KEY LOGGERS AND ELECTRO MAGNETIC RADIATION (EMR) (TEMPEST) EQUIPMENT TO RETRIEVE IMAGES OF ANYTHING BEING TYPED ON PERSONAL COMPUTERS OFFLINE AT HOME AND WORK, AS WELL AS ONLINE COMPUTER HACKING THROUGH THE INTERNET THROUGH ILLEGAL ACCESS UNDER THE FALSE PRETEXT OF SURVEILLANCE AND PROTECTION AND SECURITY, THEREBY VIOLATING PEOPLES' HUMAN RIGHTS AND PRIVACY, INVADING THEIR LIVES AND CREATING DISTURBANCE AND HARASSMENT THAT WILL WEIGH HEAVILY UPON THEM IN THE JUDGMENT OF THE ALMIGHTY LORD OF CREATION THAT LEAVES NO WRONGS GO UNPUNISHED EVER! PLEASE CIRCULATE THIS INFORMATION TO STOP THESE GROSS ABUSES OF HUMAN RIGHTS AND VIOLATIONS OF PRIVACY THAT IS AT THE CORE OF A CIVILIZED SOCIETY. Burke, J. and Warren, P. (2002). How mobile phones let spies see our every move. The Observer, October 13.,6903,811027,00.html Bush, Steve. (2006, November 17). Police will use radar to see through walls. Electronics Weekly. Chan, Hans, H. (1999, June 4). Cops have eyes on x-ray vision. New technology would let police see through walls. New York: Hearn, Kelly. (2001, April 18). High tech cop tools see through walls. United Press International cited on Jones, Willie. D. (2005, November). No place to hide: Portable radar devices see through walls and report what’s inside. IEEE Spectrum Online. Hearn, Kelly. (2001, April 1. High tech cop tools see through walls. United Press International cited on Hunt, A., Tillery, C., & Wild, N. (2001). Through-the-wall surveillance technologies. Corrections Today, 63(4), 132. Kuhn, M. G., & Anderson, R. J. (199. Soft tempest: Hidden data transmission using electromagnetic emanations ( Lamb, G. M. (2006). Does digital age spell privacy’s doom? Christian Science Monitor, 98(149). Lyon, D. (2001c). Surveillance after September 11. Surveillance after September 11. Sociological Research Online 6(3). Marx, G. T. (1986). The iron fist and the velvet glove: Totalitarian potentials within democratic structures. Marx, G. T. (2001). Murky conceptual waters: The public and the private. Ethics and Information Technology, 3(3), 157-159. McGowan, Dave. (2000, June). Sony’s Magic cameras. Mejia, R. (2002). More surveillance on the way. The Nation, October 30. Miles, Christopher. 2007. “Through-the-wall Surveillance.” National Institute of Justice Journal 258. Available online at Sanders, Jane (2001, April 12). Flash of force: Radar flashlight could help police detect suspects hiding behind doors and 8-inch thick walls. Georgia Institute of Technology Research News. Simonite, Tom. (2006, November 14). Compact radar tracks movement through a wall. New Scientist. Wright, J. (2005). National security, corporate security, or human security?

Fight sexual violence against Native Women
9 years ago
This week, after powerful testimony on sexual violence against Native Women, we finally have Congress' attention and a small window to make an impact while the legislation is being drafted.
Help close the gap on law enforcement and health care for Native women.
Two days ago, Sarah Deer, lawyer and Native woman activist, delivered powerful testimony before Congress exposing serious gaps in law enforcement and health care for Native women. Native American and Alaska Native victims of sexual assault and rape have to navigate a complex maze of federal, state, tribal and local law and frequently perpetrators are not brought to justice.

While we have their attention, let Congress know that you care about justice for Native Women. Send a message that you want to close the gap in law enforcement and health care for Native women victims of sexual violence.

The Appropriations Subcommittee on the Interior is drafting legislation right now that will determine the level of federal funding for law enforcement and health care in Native American and Alaska Native communities. If the committee fails to include additional funds in this bill for protecting Native women against sexual assault, yet another year will pass where survivors of rape are unable to receive proper medical attention, such as obtaining sexual assault forensic examinations.
Tell the committee leadership to increase funding for the Indian Health Service and help enable Native Women sexual assault survivors to receive adequate medical treatment.

Sarah Deer's testimony before the committee was a truly historic moment in this long battle for the rights of Native American and Alaska Native women. We are asking the Subcommittee to increase federal funding for programs to help combat sexual violence against Native American and Alaska Native women as well as to include specific language directing health care providers and law enforcement officials to document the number of sexual assault cases that occur, who the perpetrators are, and where the assaults take place. If we can convince them to include this important language now, there is a good chance it will become a part of the final bill.

In our report, Maze of Injustice, we uncovered that Native American and Alaska Native women are more than 2.5 times more likely to be sexually assaulted or raped than women in general in the US and that one in three will be raped in their lifetime. Astonishingly enough, experts believe these numbers to be an underestimate because sexual violence against Native women frequently goes undocumented.

Help us stop this epidemic of sexual violence against American Indian and Alaska Native women.

Thanks for your support,

Meredith Larson
Director, Stop Violence Against Women Campaign
Amnesty International USA
1 in 3
9 years ago
Native American and Alaska Native women face a 1 in 3 chance of being raped in their lifetime.
The numbers are shocking. In our report, Maze of Injustice, we uncovered the staggering statistic that Native American and Alaska Native women are more than two and a half times more likely to be raped or sexually assaulted than women in the USA in general.

Thankfully, our insiders on Capitol Hill say the Senate is considering re-introducing the Tribal Law and Order Act, a bill that would help fix this broken system of justice.

That's why we've made this week the national call-in week for women's rights.
Call your Senators today and ask them to support the Tribal Law and Order Act.

Our call-in page will give you phone numbers, detailed talking points and a sample script. If passed, the Tribal Law and Order Act would do two critical things:
  • Clarify jurisdiction between federal, state, tribal and local governments, and
  • Increase coordination between their law enforcement agencies for responding to violent crime against American Indians.

Non-Native men who rape Native American and Alaska Native women can often do so with impunity, because of a lack of tribal authority to prosecute non-Native people who commit crimes of sexual violence on tribal lands.

Most perpetrators are never punished because of a complex maze of tribal, state and federal jurisdictions that is so confusing that officials are often not clear on who is responsible for responding. This maze of injustice is exactly what the Tribal Law and Order Act would help fix.

Pick up the phone now and call your Senators to support and cosponsor legislation for Native American and Alaska Native women after it is introduced in the Senate.

We promise it will take you less than two minutes. Our call-in page has everything you need, including phone numbers, talking points and even a sample script. Without your phone call the Tribal Law and Order Act may never see the light of day. Thank you for joining the hundreds of others who will call this week to support women's rights.


Meredith Larson
Director, Stop Violence Against Women Campaign
Amnesty International, USA

End Sexual Violence Against Women and Girls
10 years ago
End Sexual Violence Against Women and Girls
Target: U.S. Congress
Sponsored by: Women's Commission for Refugee Women and Children
Every day, millions of refugee women and girls around the world risk being raped, beaten - even killed - as they search for the firewood they need to cook for their families. It's happening everywhere from Sudan to Sri Lanka, Ethiopia to Ecuador, and it must not continue.

To help protect women and girls at risk of rape and assault, Congress must pass the International Violence Against Women Act. This landmark bill, to be re-introduced in the new session of Congress, would make efforts to address sexual violence a key priority in U.S. foreign assistance programs. It contains a number of important provisions aimed at increasing services for survivors of sexual violence and improving prevention and protection programs. For millions of refugee women and girls risking personal harm while attempting to collect firewood, this bill is critical.

We want to make sure this issue is a top priority for Congress in 2009. Ask your senators and representatives to support the International Violence Against Women Act today!
US - Your Vote Matters
10 years ago

Violence Against Women

Check this out, please!


Senators Obama and Biden have sponsored and supported legislation, including funding, to reduce violence against women and to assist women survivors of domestic abuse.  Biden authored the federal Violence Against Women Act (VAWA).  Obama cosponsored the reauthorization of VAWA and authored legislation on violence against women as an Illinois State Senator. 

Obama/Biden McCain/Palin

Violence Against Women Act (VAWA)

  • Biden authors and sponsors the historic federal Violence Against Women Act.  Provides Federal right of action for a woman to enter court against her abuser; provides funding for domestic violence shelters as well as police and judicial programs to reduce violence against women; establishes a national hotline for victims of violence. (1994)

Violence Against Women Act (VAWA)

  • McCain votes NO on Violence Against Women Act

State Legislation

  • State Senator Obama is chief sponsor of landmark state legislation: The Victims Economic Security and safety Act (VESSA).  Provides employees who are victims of domestic violence or sexual violence with job security, financial independence necessary to leave abusive situations, and 12 work weeks of unpaid leave in any 12-month period.

VAWA Reauthorization

  • Biden is chief sponsor of the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act which provides additional funds to programs to reduce violence against women and to increase size of hotline.  Obama co-sponsors VAWA. (2005)

VAWA Reauthorization

  • McCain fails to co-sponsor VAWA reauthorization although many Republicans and Conservative Senators do so.

Funding for Office of Violence Against Women

  • Biden votes yes

  • Among coalition of 75 bipartisan Senators

  • Obama - not voting [campaigning - vote not needed to pass]

Funding for Office of Violence Against Women

  • McCain Votes No

Help protect freedom of expression in Zimbabwe
10 years ago

Demand justice for peaceful human rights defenders in Zimbabwe.


Beatings, jailings, intimidation,—the continued harassment of human rights defenders in Zimbabwe must end.

As violence spread throughout Zimbabwe following the initial round of Presidential elections, members of the women’s rights organization, Women of Zimbabwe Arise! (WOZA), appealed to regional authorities to help end the crisis. As WOZA members peacefully marched to the Zambian embassy to ask for assistance, police descended on the crowd arresting fourteen members.

WOZA leaders, Jenni Williams and Magadonga Mahlangu, were among those arrested, and consequently spent more than a month in jail after arbitrarily being denied bail.

The trial date, recently scheduled for August 27th, is an opportunity to set the record straight – the rights of human rights activists must not be denied. All fourteen activists are being charged with "distributing materials likely to cause a breach of the peace."

These bogus charges are a clear violation of the right to freedom of expression and should be dropped immediately.

Right now, South Africa’s President Thabo Mbeki is mediating talks between Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe and opposition parties. These mediation talks present a unique opportunity. Your letters directed to President Mbeki can help free the Jenni Magadonga and the other members of WOZA.

Take action now. Tell President Mbeki that all charges against the Women of Zimbabwe Arise must be dropped and that police intimidation and torture must end. What happened to the members of WOZA is just the tip of the iceberg. Human rights defenders in Zimbabwe are repeatedly the victims of harassment and brute force. International law and the Zimbabwe constitution, guarantees peaceful freedom of assembly to all people. The government must no longer be allowed to act with impunity and in violation of these protections.

Please send your letter today, and help WOZA and other human rights activists continue to work without fear of persecution in Zimbabwe.


Larry Cox
Executive Director
Amnesty International USA

Women's Rights Leader Killed In Colombia
10 years ago
Investigate Killing of Displaced Women's Leader in Colombia

On June 29, 2008, Martha Obando was shot dead in the main street of her suburb in the outskirts of Buenaventura, Colombia. Obando, known affectionately as Dona Chila, was an active community and women's rights leader.

She started a small organization for women who had fled conflict and are now heads of their households.

Dona Chila was killed one hour after organizing a children's tournament of traditional games, held to dissuade young people from engaging in violence. Although many Colombians are unfortunately killed each year, Dona Chila's colleagues fear her murder was related to her human rights advocacy.

Take action now to urge the Colombian government to:

  • Immediately investigate the killing and prosecute those responsible;
  • Publicly condemn the killing; and
  • Ensure that other women leaders in the region are adequately protected.
Help stop the war against women
10 years ago
Rape and sexual violence are prevalent in the Democratic Republic of Congo, but those responsible go unpunished.
Act now to stop impunity and violence against women in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The conflict in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) has been a "war against women" in which thousands of women and girls have been subjected to rape and gender-based violence. These crimes are committed with the intent to destroy families and communities and are predominantly carried out by government soldiers, police, and armed group members. But perpetrators are rarely brought to justice.

H.R. 1227 is a resolution condemning sexual violence in the DRC and calling on the international community to take immediate actions to respond to violence there.

Urge your Representative to speak out for victims in the DRC and support H.R. 1227.

Two years ago, Congress and the President codified the United States' commitment to peace in the Congo through the Democratic Republic of the Congo Relief, Security, and Democracy Promotion Act of 2006, yet systematic rape and stigmatization of rape victims continues to be a public health crisis. Women and girls are frequently left with physical injuries and psychological problems due to a lack of access to medical care and often suffer social and economic exclusion.

It is time for the United States to re-commit to ending sexual violence in the DRC.

Take action now to ensure that your Representative makes that commitment a reality. 

10 years ago

President's '09 Budget DEVASTATING for Victims of Violence.
President Bush’s 2009 budget proposal, released Feb. 4, proposes a devastating $120 million cut in Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) funds, caps Victim of Crime Act (VOCA) funding at the lowest level in 6 years, does not provide any increases for Family Violence Prevention and Services Act (shelter) funding, and ELIMINATES the $2 billion in the VOCA reserve.

Bringing killers of women to justice
10 years ago
Up to 70% of the killings of women and girls are never investigated in Guatemala. No arrests are made in 97% of those cases. The lack of investigations into the killings and rapes of women and girls is shockingly common in many countries.

Call on your Republican Representatives to protect women and girls from violence.
Support the International Violence against Women Act (I-VAWA).
The dead body of Claudina Velasquez, a 19 year-old university student, was found with gunshot wounds and traces of semen. Guatemalan authorities assumed that because she wore sandals and had a belly button ring that she was a "nobody". Three years later, her parents still hope that one day justice will be found for their daughter and she will be recognized as somebody special. Support the International Violence against Women Act (I-VAWA) and end impunity for killers of women and girls.

Just two months ago, I-VAWA, after receiving overwhelming bi-partisan support in the Senate, was introduced in the House of Representatives by Rep. Howard Berman (D-CA). Such momentum only proves the importance of taking proactive steps to protect women and girls against violence worldwide.

As we move forward to ensure the passage of I-VAWA, maintaining strong bi-partisan support is essential. Call on your Republican Representatives to support I-VAWA.

So many women and girls, like Claudina Velasquez, do not receive the justice that they deserve. The passage of I-VAWA would mean:
  • Increased legal and judicial protection to address violence against women and girls
  • Increased pressure to find perpetrators and bring them to justice
  • Strengthened capacity of women's organizations in Guatemala and many other countries working to bring such perpetrators of violence to justice
  • Increased economic and educational opportunities that would reduce the vulnerability of women at risk of violence
10 years ago

Brazil: Women's Lives Shattered By Public Security Crisis in Shanty-Towns | Amnesty International

World  (tags: HumanRights, women's rights, violence, Brazil )
 Davida StarsButterfliesGold Notes - 20 seconds ago -

“The reality for women in Brazil’s slums is catastrophic. They are the hidden victims of the criminal and police violence that has engulfed their communities for decades,” said Tim Cahill, Brazil researcher at Amnesty International.
Springing into action for women's human rights
10 years ago

Build flower power this spring by demanding proper healthcare for Native American and Alaksa Native survivors of sexual assault.

This spring, you can turn flowers into power for Native American and Alaska Native women. Tell the incoming Indian Health Service (IH Director to ensure that survivors of rape and sexual assault receive the proper healthcare they deserve. Demand quality healthcare by sending an email or creating crafty paper flowers and you will be making a difference in the lives of sexual assault survivors.

It is the responsibility of the Director to oversee the IHS as the principle, and in some areas, sole provider of health services in Native American and Alaska Native communities. These facilities are notorious for their lack of standardized protocols and resources, particularly in cases of sexual assault and rape. Many IHS facilities even lack basic rape kits or nurses trained to use them. However, your action and flower power can help guarantee that quality healthcare standards are enforced.

There are two ways to take action:

1. Give an Organic Bouquet
For every ten emails sent, Amnesty International USA will send a flower to Robert G. McSwain, who any day now will step into the official role of IHS Director. Our goal is to fill the IHS office with so many flowers that IHS officials recognize that their actions (and lack thereof) to protect Native American women are being observed by hundreds of dedicated advocates around the country. 
Take meaningful action and ensure proper healthcare for Native American and Alaska Native women.

2. Get Crafty!
A fun way to send a message for women's human rights is to make paper and origami flowers!
Get your friends together and get creative. Learn how to make flower-themed crafts and help women's rights bloom.

Remember: Our flower power is stronger when you add yourself to the action! Take meaningful action and ensure quality healthcare for Native American and Alaska Native survivors of sexual assault.


Michael Heflin
Campaign Director
Amnesty International USA


US - Senate Sign on to Support VAWA
10 years ago

As most of you know, the President's 2009 budget proposes devistating cuts to Violence Against Women Act programs.

Thanks to your activism over the past couple weeks we've had some extraordinary victories. One hundred twenty three members (28%) of the House of Representatives signed a letter urging full funding  for all Violence Against Women Act programs.  And the Senate voted unanimoulsy to approve restoring $100 million to VAWA's budget.

NOW there's one more opportunity to improve the funding situation for these life saving programs.  Senators Joseph Biden and Gordon Smith are circulating a "Dear Colleague" letter asking other Senators to sign on in support of full funding for VAWA.  Deadline for signing on is April 2. 

ACT NOW to urge your senator to sign this letter!  Let's keep the momentum going!!

CLICK HERE to learn more and to take action!

Then, forward this message to others so that our senators hear loud and clear that keeping victims safe from family violence is a national priority!


Thanks for all you've been doing  - it's really making a difference!


Together, we can..


Help Put Human Rights at the Core of US-Mexican Relations!
10 years ago

Don't let US dollars end up in the hands of known human rights abusers.

Take action and urge your representative and senators to incorporate human rights into the "Merida Initiative!"

Take action! 

AI_barbara150    Bárbara Italia Méndez, arbitrarily arrested and victim of police abuse in San Salvador Atenco, Mexico State on 4 May 2006.

When she left her home that day, she never imagined the horrific experience that lay ahead of her. On the evening of May 3, 2006, 27 year-old Bárbara Italia Méndez traveled from Mexico City to San Salvador Atenco, Mexico State,  when a police operation in response to protests resulted in violence. Members of the Federal police arrested her without explanation and beat and raped her. The State Public Prosecutor's Office refused to register her complaint about the abuse she suffered, and no proper medical examination was carried out.

Two years later, none of the officials responsible for her abuse have been prosecuted. Bárbara Italia was one of 26 women arrested who said they had suffered sexual and other violence on May 3 and 4, 2006.

The US Congress is deciding whether to send hundreds of millions of dollars to Mexican security force agencies to combat drug trafficking and organized crime. You can help ensure that we don't provide assistance to the police implicated in Bárbara Italia’s case.

Biden Amendment - Victory in Senate/Deadline in House of Reps!
10 years ago

Whoo Hoo!  We did it!!  BIG VICTORY in the Senate yesterday.  Last night, just before 9 pm, the Senate voted UNANIMOUSLY to approve restoring $100 million for the Violence Against Women Act into the Senate's budget proposal.   Thanks to everyone for your HUGE response to yesterday's action alert.  We'll have to keep on top of this as the appropriations process gets underway - but we're off to a great start!

NOW- we've got an important deadline in the House of Representatives!  Today is the last day for your representatives to sign on to the "Dear Colleague" letter urging full funding for  VAWA.  Let's keep our momentum going!!


Use our easy to use tools to CALL your Representative  and ask them to sign on!! 
t's easy!  We provide their name, phone number, a script and a feedback form.  You  provide the commitment to making a difference

and/or  SEND an email today!!

Your CALL is especially important since today's the deadline. Please CALL if you can!!

Thanks for all you are doing!  Keep it up - its working!!

Together, we can...

Irene Weiser


10 years ago

Biden Amendment on THURSDAY MARCH 13!!
10 years ago

Senator Joseph Biden (D-DE), the author of the Violence Against Women Act, has put forward an amendment that will add $100 million for VAWA to the Senate's budget proposal. 

The Budget Committee will be voting on the Biden Amendment on THURSDAY MARCH 13!!


CLICK HERE to learn more and to tell your Senators to Vote YES on the Biden Amendment.


Our strength is in our numbers!!  Please pass this message on to everyone you can!

Together, we can...

Irene Weiser

10 years ago
Is tops in my book, anyday. All actions were taken, thank you.

This post was modified from its original form on 27 Feb, 21:32
Stop the Culture of Sexual Assault at Halliburton/KB
10 years ago

War is hell for everyone involved. For women, this hell can be especially deep. Recruiters don't tell those who enlist that 30% of military women will be sexually assaulted while serving. Women who work as contract employees in Iraq face similar dangers.

Jamie Leigh Jones, a former Halliburton/KBR employee in Iraq, recently testified at a Congressional hearing that she was drugged and brutally gang-raped by her co-workers in 2005. Three years later, KBR and the military have failed to punish the perpetrators or provide redress for Jamie Leigh.

We met Jamie Leigh in Washington and we were moved by her courage-under tremendous pressure-to speak out publicly and start an organization, The Jamie Leigh Foundation, to help other women. Since Jamie Leigh spoke out, 38 U.S. women, all contract employees in Iraq, have come forward to report crimes of sexual harassment and assault in the workplace. Halliburton/KBR has failed to protect the safety of its contract employees, and, in fact, has fostered an environment wherein sexual violence is accepted. Moreover, the company requires employees to sign a private arbitration agreement, forcing them to give up their right to sue the company or have a trial by jury.

"Halliburton is trying to force this into a secret proceeding, which will do nothing to prevent continued abuses of this nature," Jamie Leigh told Congress. "The United States government has to provide people with their day in court when they have been raped and assaulted by other American citizens."

Due to Halliburton/KBR's pattern of fraudulent and abusive behavior, including fostering a work environment conducive to violence against its own employees, we call upon Mr. Robert Kittel, Suspension and Debarment Official of the U.S. Army Legal Services Agency, to debar Halliburton/KBR from future contracts in Iraq.

1. Click here to read Medea Benjamin's letter to Mr. Kittel and

2. Click here to send your own letter using our sample email.

3. Please also sign our petition in support of the Jamie Leigh Act of 2008, which mandates that companies report criminal violations and provide this information to new employees.

For more information, please read the recent New York Times article, "Limbo for U.S. Women Reporting Iraq Assaults" and see

Thank you for helping us hold abusive companies accountable and provide justice to courageous women like Jamie Leigh.

Dana, Desiree, Farida, Gael, Gayle, Jodie, Liz, Medea, Nancy and Rae


Over 1,900 of you have already signed onto our resist military recruitment pledge, including over 800 parents and hundreds of students!


Support I-VAWA during March
10 years ago

Help Pass the Historic International Violence Against Women Act


Support I-VAWA during March
March is Women's History Month and March 8 is International Women's Day. What better time to join AIUSA's national Call-in Week, March 7-14, and mobilization in support of The International Violence Against Women Act throughout the month!
Take action

Background Information on the International Violence Against Women Act

One out of every three women worldwide will be physically or sexually abused during her lifetime with rates reaching 70 percent in some countries. This type of violence ranges from rape to domestic violence and acid burnings to dowry deaths and so-called honor killings. Violence against women and girls is a human rights violation, a public health epidemic and a barrier to solving global challenges like desperate poverty, HIV/AIDS and conflict. Violence and abuse devastates the lives of millions of women, knows no national or cultural barriers, and most importantly, it must be stopped. The International Violence Against Women Act is a major step in the effort to end violence against women and girls across the globe. More

» Issue Brief (PDF)

» NGO Supporters

» I-VAWA Model Programs

» Q&A: Basic I-VAWA

» Q&A: Legislation


Where Women are hurt, so too are Children!
10 years ago


International Women’s Day
is celebrated on March 8

Worldwide, women are planning get togethers, psychoeducation sessions, picnics, morning teas, breakfasts, guest speakers, trade days and minutes of recognition. For many women, the cost of attending a function will be too great. Financial considerations and domestic and family violence as retaliation are a barrier to many women participating in a day set aside for them.

Where Women are hurt, so too are Children!

No matter what your gender if you are against violence toward women and children then it is your responsibility to do something to help end it. Ability and barriers are real preventions to peaceful social action. UNIFEM had removed some of those barriers by encouraging signatures to an online campaign. If you are reading this then the power of change is within your hands. Add your name to the 24469 names already saying no to violence against women. Sign Nicole Kidman’s (ambassador to UNIFEM) book at the United Nation’s Development Fund for Women

online campaign to stop women and children being tortured by domestic terrorists.

Imagine if and
All for Women say NO to violence against women and children.
Are you with us? Sign the book and leave a comment here using the key words, say NO to violence against women and children.

                Celebration days
International Women’s Day Say NO to Violence Against Women

International Women’s Day - March 8

Violence Against Women - Facts and Figures

President's Budget Devastating to Victims of Violence
10 years ago

President Bush’s 2009 budget proposal proposes a devastating  $120 million cut in Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) funds, caps Victim of Crime Act (VOCA) funding at the lowest level in 6 years, does not provide any increases for Family Violence Prevention and Services Act (shelter) funding, and ELIMINATES the $2 billion in the VOCA reserve.

"The Administration's budget for Violence Against Women Act programs is an outrage," said Sen. Joe Biden, author of the Violence Against Women Act. "Domestic violence impacts one in every four women, yet the Administration proposes cutting spending by almost a third. If allowed to go forward, this Administration's disastrous budgeting priorities could roll back more than a decade of success in investigating, prosecuting and preventing domestic and sexual violence."


CLICK HERE to learn more and to get a toll free phone number and script to call your legislators and ask them to restore full funding to these lifesaving programs.  Then fill in our form so we know which offices have been called!

If you've never called Congress before, don't worry - it's easy, and empowering too! Just give the staff person who answers the phone your name, city and state and then follow the script we've provided.  They won't quiz you - they'll just take notes on what you have to say.  If you want, you can also say something personal about why this funding is important to you.

Thanks for making the call that will make a difference!

Your messages last year helped secure an additional $17 million for programs to keep victims safe. 


Thanks for your quick response on this.

Together, we can..

Irene Weiser
Executive Director

11 years ago
Action Taken, and forwarded outside Care2. This must stop, and be accountable....
Halliburton and Rape
11 years ago

Jamie Leigh Jones was a 20-year-old woman working in Iraq for a subsidiary of Halliburton when she was drugged and brutally gang-raped by several co-workers.

The next day, Halliburton told her that if she left Iraq to get medical treatment, she could lose her job.1

Jamie's story gets even more horrific: For the last two years, she's been asking the US government to hold the perpetrators accountable. But the men who raped her may never be brought to justice because Halliburton and other contractors in Iraq aren't subject to US or Iraqi laws. They can't be tried for a crime in any court.2

This is one of the most disturbing stories we have come across in a while. We're calling on Congress to investigate Jamie's case, hold those involved accountable, and bring US contractors under the jurisdiction of US law so this can't happen again. If hundreds of thousands of us speak out against this outrageous story, we can force Congress to take action.

Can you sign the petition? The text is in the blue box at the right. Clicking below will add your name.

After you sign, please forward this email to friends, family and colleagues—we all need to speak out together.

When you get an email from us, it doesn't usually include a graphic description of a brutal attack. But when we heard this story, we knew we had to do something about it.

Here's how Jamie described what happened after the attack:

I awoke the next morning in the barracks to find my naked body battered and bruised. I was still groggy from whatever had been put in my drink. I was bleeding... After getting to the clinic and having a rape kit performed...I was locked in a container with no food, no way to call my parents, and was placed under armed guard by Halliburton.3

Jamie's attackers aren't the only ones exploiting a legal loophole to get away with their violent crimes. Another female employee of Halliburton says she was raped by her co-workers in Iraq.4 Employees of Blackwater, another private contracting firm in Iraq, were accused of killing innocent Iraqi civilians, and that incident turned into an international scandal. Worst of all, they may never be punished.5

Private contractors in Iraq are making massive amounts of money, operating above the law and are accountable to no one. This has to stop.

Congress needs to act now to bring these contractors under the rule of law. If they don't, nothing will prevent a case like Jamie's from happening again. No man or woman working in Iraq should have to fear that they can be attacked without consequences.

Please sign on to the petition: "Congress must investigate the rape of Jamie Leigh Jones and others, hold those involved accountable, and bring US contractors under the jurisdiction of US law." Clicking below adds your name:

Thanks for all you do,

–Nita, Wes, Karin, Marika, and the Political Action Team
  Friday, December 14th, 2007


1. "Halliburton hit in rape lawsuit," New York Daily News, December 11, 2007

2. "Victim: Gang-Rape Cover-Up by U.S., Halliburton/KBR," ABC News, December 10, 2007

3. Jamie's Journal, The Jamie Leigh Foundation

4. "Female ex-employees sue KBR, Halliburton—report," Reuters, June 29, 2007

5."Blackwater Probe Narrows Focus to Guards," Associated Press, December 8, 2007

Not authorized by any candidate or candidate's committee.

11 years ago
Action was Taken.
International Violence Against Women Act (I-VAWA)
11 years ago

We need your help to pass the historic and unprecedented International Violence Against Women Act (I-VAWA)

Violence against women and girls represents a global health, economic development, and human rights problem of epidemic proportions and cuts across all countries, social groups, ethnicities, religions, and socioeconomic classes. In fact, at least one out of every three women worldwide are beaten, coerced into sex, or otherwise abused in her lifetime, with rates reaching 70% in some countries. Violence against women and girls is a human rights violation that causes physical, sexual and psychological harm or suffering, including rape, domestic violence, acid burning, dowry deaths, so-called honor killings, human trafficking, and female genital cutting. It devastates the lives of millions of women around the globe.

Now, for the first time, the United States has an historic opportunity to raise this issue in its diplomatic work and have an impact on the suffering of millions of women and girls.

Act Now and Contact your Senator!

I-VAWA is a groundbreaking piece of legislation. The bill lays out a powerful international agenda to combat violence against women and girls. Such violence is a critical international development issue that must be addressed in order to achieve prosperity and stability around the world. Amnesty International USA, Family Violence Prevention Fund and Women's Edge Coalition provided advice on the drafting of the legislation with the input of 150 international and domestic experts. The time is now to capitalize on this awareness and support and to enact this comprehensive vision to address the problem of violence against women.
» Take action
» Read more

16 days of healing
11 years ago
Within 16 days, Native American and Alaska Native rape survivors can begin receiving the care and treatment they deserve. The Indian Health Service (IH is the principle and in some areas, sole provider of health services for Native American and Alaska Native people. Despite its prevalence, IHS continues to lack consistent protocols and resources for treating sexual assault survivors. Join the "16 Days of Activism against Gender Violence" campaign and help break down the barriers for Indigenous women overcoming crisis.

During the 16 days between November 25th, International Day against Violence against Women, and December 10th, International Human Rights Day, the call to eliminate all forms of violence against women will reach a fever pitch. Women's rights advocates from around the world will be taking action to highlight the violation of women's rights as an abuse of human rights.

The violence in the U.S. against Indigenous women is particularly astounding. Sexual violence against Native American and Alaska Native women is 2.5 times more likely to occur in comparison to other women in the U.S. However, IHS facilities often lack access to the very basic services provided to victims of rape such as testing for sexually-transmitted infection, pregnancy testing, emergency contraception, and culturally-appropriate support services. Furthermore, 
our Maze of Injustice report discovers that many IHS facilities are not clinically or educationally equipped to handle the trauma linked to rape and sexual assault.

During the "16 Days" of action, demand that the IHS:
  • Provides free access to sexual assault examinations, known as "rape kits"
  • Adopts and implements standardized policies for treating survivors of rape and sexual assault developed in coordination with Indigenous women's rights defenders
  • Conducts all examinations by well-trained sexual assault nurse professionals

In 16 Days, you can help build the bridge from hurt to healing.

In solidarity,
Zaynab Nawaz
Native American Women Campaign Advisor
AIUSA's Stop Violence Against Women Campaign

Sexual Violence against Native Women Event - New York
11 years ago

Maze of Injustice


Thursday, November 15 6:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.
Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian
One Bowling Green
(across from Battery Park in lower Manhattan)
New York, NY

Learn about Amnesty International's groundbreaking report: Maze of Injustice: The failure to protect indigenous women from sexual violence in the USA.

You are invited to attend a reception and public program on Thursday, Nov 15th at the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian in New York City. The event is being hosted by Rose Styron, Kerry Kennedy and Larry Cox, Executive Director of Amnesty International USA

Speakers include:
Georgia Little Shield, Executive Director, Pretty Bird Women House

Winona Flying Earth, Sitting Bull College and South Dakota Coalition Against Domestic Violence

Hors d'oeuvres and cocktails will be served.

This event is free and open to the public and guests are welcome

RSVP to Matthew Kennis by Monday, November 12; 212-633-4169 or

Directions by Train:
Eastside: 4 and 5 trains to Bowling Green
Westside: 1 train to South Ferry
BMT: R and W trains to Whitehall. M and J trains to Broad St.

And if you can't attend:

Honor Human Rights Day on December 10, 2007 join in the Global Write-A-Thon!

Take action on behalf of individuals at risk of human rights violations. Amnesty International's annual Write-a-thon allows you to make a difference in the life of a victim of human rights abuses.

Update - ACLU Women’s Rights Project
11 years ago
Iran: Authorities thwart campaign for gender equality
11 years ago


Women's rights activists in Iran face imprisonment

Activists campaigning for gender equality in Iran are unable to exercise their rights to freedom of expression and association, as shown by a number of recent arrests.

Many of those arrested are supporters of the Campaign for Equality, a network which works to end legal discrimination against women.

The Campaign for Equality
Some of the activists arrested this year were collecting signatures for the Campaign in its bid to collect one million signatures from the Iranian public to a petition against laws discriminating against women in Iran. In addition to the petition, the campaign also runs a website to provide information and a forum for debate, and works with grassroots organizations expose the problems women face and inform them of their rights.

Arrests of activists
The group have faced various obstacles in their efforts as authorities have stifled the debate on gender equality, including dismissal from work and threatening phone calls after hosting meetings.

On 4 March of this year, 33 women were arrested while protesting peacefully outside the court room where five women were tried in connection with a demonstration held on 12 June 2006 to demand that women be given equal rights with men under the law in Iran,. The June demonstration was violently dispersed by security forces, who arrested at least 70 people. All had been released by 19 March but are still under the threat of prosecution. A demonstration held for women’s rights in front of Iran’s parliament on 8 March, International Women’s day, was forcibly broken up by security forces, who are said to have injured several women.

In April, five women were arrested while collecting signatures in a Tehran park. Three of these women were released the following day, though Mahboubeh Hossein Zadeh and Nahid Keshavarz were released on bail after thirteen days of detention. They were reportedly accused of “acting against state security”.

Zeinab Peyghambarzadeh, a student and women’s rights activist who is involved in the Campaign for Equality, was detained on 7 May 2007, after being summoned to court in connection with her participation in the 4 March gathering. She was released on bail on 16 May, after court officials had repeatedly obstructed her father’s attempts to meet the bail payment. She had also spent four days in detention in January 2007 while collecting signatures on the Tehran metro.

Nasim Sarabandi and Fatemeh Dehdashti were the first activists to be tried and sentenced for peacefully collecting signatures. On 12 August 2007, they were sentenced to six months’ imprisonment, suspended for two years, on the charge of “acting against national security through the spread of propaganda against the system”. They had been detained briefly in January 2007.

Discrimination in law
Women in Iran face widespread discrimination under the law. They are excluded from key areas of political participation and do not have equal rights with men in marriage, divorce, child custody and inheritance.

Earlier this year, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Shirin Ebadi and Irene Khan, Secretary General of Amnesty International, denounced discriminatory laws:
“As long as women are denied human rights, anywhere in the world, there can be no justice and no peace”.

However, the arrests continue. Amir Yaghoub-Ali, a male activist, was arrested on July 11 while collecting signatures in support of the Campaign for Equality. He has since been released, but remains at risk of prosecution.

Amnesty International calls on the Government of Iran to urgently abolish laws that discriminate against women, and to drop all charges against these women’s rights activists, who have been exercising their internationally recognized rights to freedom of expression and association in collecting signatures and protesting peacefully. Anyone detained solely in connection with such activities would be a prisoner of conscience.

Read more

11 years ago

Amnesty International takes on divided world


(Cocoyoc, Mexico) In a world marred by division and discord, fuelled by inequality and impunity, the global leadership of Amnesty International today concluded their 28th International Council Meeting with a resounding commitment to tackling poverty and disparity as the gravest global threats to universal human rights.

For the past week, more than 400 delegates from 75 countries have participated in the International Council Meeting which is a forum that Amnesty International convenes every two years to plan, review and decide the organization's human rights work.

"The human rights challenges of a world divided by inequality, impunity and poverty call for courageous and broad based human rights defence," said Amnesty International Secretary General Irene Khan.

"Amnesty International -- the world's largest movement of human rights activists -- joins together in concerted action for human rights, people from all over the world, people of many different nationalities, ethnicities, ages, religions, cultures who share one common vision that human rights must be respected, protected and fulfilled for all people everywhere."

Delegates from every region of the world affirmed the contribution that Amnesty International makes in defending the human rights of the most marginalized. To better challenge governments' erosion of human rights standards and ensure Amnesty International’s relevance to those who face the bigotry and exclusion of discrimination, the organization took a decision to address grave abuses of human rights enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other international human rights instruments.

"People living in poverty have the least access to the power needed to shape policies that may eradicate poverty and frequently are denied effective remedies for violations of their human rights," said Ms Khan.

With the prevention of violence against women as its major campaigning focus, Amnesty International's leaders committed themselves anew to work for universal respect for sexual and reproductive rights. Amnesty International committed itself to strengthening the organization's work on the prevention of unwanted pregnancies and other factors contributing to women's recourse to abortion and affirmed the organization’s policy on selected aspects on abortion (to support the decriminalisation of abortion, to ensure women have access to health care when complications arise from abortion and to defend women's access to abortion, within reasonable gestational limits, when their health or human rights are in danger), emphasizing that women and men must exercise their sexual and reproductive rights free from coercion, discrimination and violence.

The International Council Meeting also marked the one year countdown to the Beijing Olympics 2008 noting that during the bidding for and awarding of the Olympics to Beijing, both the Chinese authorities and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) had stated that the Games would help develop human rights in China. Amnesty International agreed it will campaign to hold the Government of China and the IOC accountable to their pledge.

Amnesty International concluded its week-long gathering emphasizing its own roots of standing up for those whose rights are imperilled by injustice, impunity and abuse.

"Working for the release of prisoners of conscience or prisoners of poverty, prejudice and violence, Amnesty International will stay true to its mission of standing up for the marginalized. The human dignity of all people is at the heart of the human rights cause. Promoting the dignity of people who by reason of poverty and prejudice have least access to human rights is Amnesty International’s most pressing task. And as the leaders of this world-wide movement for human rights, we renew again our conviction and our determination to do everything in our power to stand up and defend universal human rights for all people everywhere." Ms Khan said.

 E-mail this page

And even where there are laws...
11 years ago


Woman raped before "honor killing": court

LONDON (Reuters) - A Kurdish woman was brutally raped, stamped on and strangled by members of her family and their friends in an "honor killing" carried out at her London home because she had fallen in love with the wrong man.

Banaz Mahmod, 20, was subjected to the 2-1/2 hour ordeal before she was garroted with a bootlace. Her body was stuffed into a suitcase and taken about 100 miles to Birmingham where it was buried in the back garden of a house.

Her badly decomposed body was found in April 2006, three months after the killing. Last month a jury found her father Mahmod Mahmod, 52, and his brother Ari Mahmod, 51, guilty of murder after a three-month trial. Their associate Mohamad Hama, 30, had earlier admitted killing her.

On Thursday at a pre-sentence hearing for Hama, the Old Bailey heard details about Banaz's last moments. Prosecutors said the three convicted men, along with two other suspects who are still at large, had carried out the killing fearing that the authorities were closing in on them.

They believed Banaz had brought shame on the family by leaving her husband, an Iraqi Kurd she had been forced to marry at 17, and falling in love with Rahmat Suleimani, an Iranian Kurd.

Her former unnamed partner had raped her as well as repeatedly beating her, the court heard. Hama, who prosecutors said had been a ringleader in the murder, was caught by listening devices talking to a friend in prison about the murder. 

In the recordings, transcripts of which were relayed to the court, Hama and his friend are hearing laughing as he described how she was killed with Banaz's uncle "supervising". 

"I was kicking and stamping on her neck to get the soul out. I saw her stark naked, only wearing pants or underwear," Hama is recorded as saying.

His lawyers say there is no evidence to support the prosecution's claims.

The decision to kill her came after a meeting on January 23 -- the day before she was murdered -- when the family decided to take action before the police could foil their attempts, said prosecutor Victor Temple.

Hama is due to be sentenced on Friday with Mahmod Mahmod and his brother, Ari.

Improve Safety and Justice for Native American and Alaska Native women
11 years ago
Since I wrote to you last April about Amnesty's landmark study, Maze of Injustice, which exposed the U.S. government's failure to protect Indigenous women from epidemic rates of sexual violence, I'm happy to report that we've put this critical human rights issue on Congress's agenda.

Following the release of Amnesty's report, Congress has held hearings and is considering several bills that would significantly increase funding to help Native American and Alaska Native survivors of sexual violence. But with critical budget decisions for 2008 expected imminently, we urgently need your help.

Please write your Representative and Senators to demand that Congress fully fund the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), and especially the Tribal Title (Title IX), which specifically seeks to address epidemic rates of sexual violence against Indigenous women.

Full funding of VAWA and Title IX will allow us to begin to reverse these shocking statistics:
  • Native American and Alaska Native women are 2.5 times more likely to be raped or sexually assaulted than other women in the U.S.

  • More than 1 in 3 Native American or Alaska Native women will be raped at some point in their lifetime.
Time is running out. Please take a moment right now to voice your strong opposition to these egregious human rights violations being committed right here at home. We must ensure the U.S. government fulfills its legal responsibility to protect and defend the rights of Native American and Alaska Native women against these rampant acts of sexual violence.

Thank you for
taking action today, and helping reverse a history of widespread and egregious human rights violations against Indigenous women in the United States.


Zaynab Nawaz
Human Rights Campaigner
Amnesty International USA

P.S. Got 3 minutes? Watch our slide show to learn more about violence against Native American and Alaska Native women and what you can do to stop it
Violence against women is not “natural” or “inevitable” Part 1
11 years ago

Throughout the world, women face violence every day. From the battlefield to the bedroom, women are at risk from violence in all areas of life. Violence against women is an abuse that is not confined to any political or economic system. It is prevalent in every society in the world. It cuts across boundaries of wealth, race and culture. It affects the young and the old. Wherever we live, women are suffering violence.
Violence against women persists because society allows it to. Virtually every culture in the world contains forms of violence against women that are often invisible because they are seen as normal or acceptable.

Discrimination against women
The underlying cause of violence against women lies in gender discrimination – the denial of women’s equality with men in all areas of life. Women are also targeted because of their race, class, culture, sexual identity or HIV status, or because they are from poor or marginalized communities.

In many countries, violence against women is written into the law. In Jamaica the law fails to protect women from marital rape, incest and sexual harassment. Discriminatory maternity and infant health services in Peru are letting hundreds of impoverished women and children die every year and denying many of them the right to an identity.

Violence against women happens because far too often governments turn a blind eye to it, do not punish those who commit crimes against women and fail to ensure effective access to justice for women. The single most important factor that allows violence against women to persist, whether in times of peace or in times of war, is rampant impunity. Those who attack and rape women, know that they can get away with it, even though rape and other forms of gender violence have long been prohibited under international law.

Sexual violence
Two thirds of sexual crimes in Hungary are committed by people known to the victim, yet few of the perpetrators are tried for their crimes. Rape by police and security forces is endemic in Nigeria as is the abject failure of the Nigerian authorities to bring perpetrators to justice.

Sexual violence affects women in all societies in times of peace as well as times of conflict. Indigenous women in the USA are at least twice as likely to be raped or sexually assaulted as women in the USA in general..

The government's ongoing failure to tackle violence against women in Papua New Guinea has resulted in this violence becoming so pervasive that it impedes national development and contributes to the spread of HIV/AIDS.

Violence in the home
Women remain at risk within their own home as well. 50% of women who die from homicides are killed by their current of former partners. Tens of thousands of women in Georgia are hit, beaten, raped and in some cases even killed by their husbands or partners. A very small percentage of women seek help and justice from violence. Many stay with their partners because they have nowhere else to go and lack financial independence.

Nearly 3,000 women were registered as victims of violence in the home in Belarus in 2005, although the actual number is believed to be much higher. As there are no shelters for victims of domestic violence in the whole of the country, these women have nowhere go.
A lack of adequate temporary housing in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) -- Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates – means that women have little opportunity to seek redress in a secure and safe environment.

States must protect women from domestic violence by ensuring that adequate laws are in place, that specialist training or health care is available, and by ensuring women who need it have access to shelters.

Violence against women is not “natural” or “inevitable” Part 2
11 years ago

During armed conflicts, violence against women is often used as a weapon of war, in order to dehumanize the women themselves, or to persecute the community to which they belong.

Acts of violence against women are often ordered, condoned or tolerated by those in the highest echelons of political or military power. They persist because those in power do not acknowledge the wrongs that have been done and rarely prosecute those who have committed them. Tens of thousands of women and girls have been subjected to sexual violence during the conflict in Darfur. No one has yet been tried or prosecuted for these crimes.

In the context of the current conflict in Cote d'Ivoire many women and girls are the victims of gang rape or are abducted and forced into sexual slavery by fighters. Rape is often accompanied by beatings and torture -- often committed in public and in front of family members. To Amnesty’s knowledge, none of the perpetrators of these crimes has ever been brought to justice.

Despite governmental lack of interest and social apathy and silence in many countries - activists around the world continue to campaign against violence against women and to confront discrimination and impunity.

Human rights defenders
Much of what has been gained in women’s human rights so far has been thanks to the efforts of women themselves. They have organized themselves, broken taboos, spoken up - sometimes at great personal cost - and have led brave and inspiring campaigns against violence against women. They have achieved dramatic changes in laws, policies and practices.

Some of them are victims and survivors of violence themselves who despite risks and difficulties and together with human rights defenders, women activists, women’s organisations and the women’s movement take a stand and speak out against violence in order to make a difference for all women in the world.

Many human rights defenders face risks, but women encounter additional risks because of their gender and the issues they address. Women who defend the human rights of women, especially women from marginalized racial or ethnic groups, can find themselves under threat of violence. Because they often challenge cultural, religious or social norms about the role of women in their society, they are frequently subjected to harassment and repression, ranging from verbal abuse to sexual harassment, rape, and murder.

Often, when women pursue legal action and stand up for their rights, they are faced with hostile systems and environments. Frequently, women activists have had to face ridicule and prejudice when they have sought to take leadership in communities or societies that view the woman’s role as strictly one within the family. Women who have dared to challenge social and religious conventions have been subjected to public accusations aimed at discrediting their character. Women protesting against discriminatory laws and practices are often accused of being traitors to their faith or culture or enemies of the state.

In March this year, four women's rights activists in Iran were sentenced to prison for their role in organizing the peaceful protest and demanding equal rights for women in Iran in June last year. The activists are organizers of the “One Million Signature Campaign” launched in August 2006 that demands an end to discriminatory laws against women. They were officially charged with "actions against the state" and threatening "national security" and all four of them were tried in absentia.

Violence against women may be universal but it is not “normal” or “inevitable”. As long as women are denied their human rights, anywhere in the world, there can be no justice. Recognition of women's human rights is an essential requirement for every society. Individuals and communities have vital roles to play in overcoming discrimination of women, impunity and gaining justice.

States must prevent, investigate and punish those responsible and we must break the silence - Act now, Stop Violence against Women.

No place to call home
11 years ago


Before the war in Iraq, Fatima, a secular Shi’a, lived in Baghdad and worked as a hairdresser in a beauty salon. In 2003, the salon began to receive threats from armed Islamic groups because the hairdressers were cutting women’s hair in a public place. When the salon was attacked, Fatima quit her job out of fear for her safety. She eventually sold her jewelry to pay for her escape and fled to neighboring Syria, where she cannot obtain a work permit and scrapes by cutting hair for neighbors.


Fatima is among four million Iraqis who have been forced from their homes. The refugee crisis in Iraq is the fastest growing refugee crisis in the world, and it’s getting worse: according to the United Nations, thousands of people leave Iraq every day.  


Humanitarian emergencies of this kind hit women particularly hard; not only do women and children account for 80% of refugees and internally displaced people worldwide, but displacement renders women vulnerable to rape, violence, sexual exploitation, and grave health threats.


The United States bears a significant responsibility to Iraqi women and children; we cannot stand by as their basic needs—medical and prenatal care, food, shelter and education—go unmet.


That’s why the Women’s Funding Network has partnered with Refugees International, an organization committed to addressing the refugee crisis in Iraq and others around the world. Together, we are urging our government to appropriate funds to assist Iraqi refugees, both in Iraq and in exile.


Take Action! Click here to learn more.


In Solidarity,


Chris Grumm, President & CEO

Women’s Funding Network

Greece: Uphold the rights of trafficked women
11 years ago


Greece: Uphold the rights of trafficked women

Josephine was brought to Greece after being promised a secure job and a life in Europe. Her “safe passage” to Greece was arranged by people she trusted. She later found out that they were associates of her traffickers. When she arrived in Greece, she was forced to dance in a club and have sex with customers to pay the “debts” to her traffickers. To get her to comply with their demands, her traffickers burned her face with cigarettes and drenched her in scalding and freezing water.

Greece is a destination for trafficked women forced into prostitution. Trafficked women and girls face danger, even when in the custody of the authorities. Instead of receiving protection they are often charged with other offences, such as illegal prostitution.

See this action in Greek
Read the report Greece: Uphold the rights of women and girls trafficked for sexual exploitation in English and Greek

Please let us know if you have taken this action

Yes, I have taken this action

For more Information:

Hungary: justice denied to victims of rape in the home
11 years ago

Hungary: justice denied to victims of rape in the home (follow link for video)

“At least 85% of them are whores: but they do not manage to come to an agreement. They are prostitutes: overtly or secretly…”
A police officer and expert on rape issues

The government in Hungary is failing to protect women from rape and sexual violence in the home. Widespread prejudice, government inactivity and deficiencies in the criminal justice system mean that many women are denied justice.

Many cases never reach court. Women are reluctant to report rape, fearing reprisals and having to go through a humiliating reporting procedure. The police frequently do not conduct proper investigations and forensic evidence is not gathered properly. Those who do reach court face the obstacle of public attitudes that it is acceptable for a husband to force his wife to have sex and that it is the woman who provokes rape.

“I have worked as a judge for 10 years, but to tell you the truth, I myself would not report rape. It is the victim who has to defend and prove everything”. Woman judge.

The government of Hungary must act now to stop this abuse.

Dear Prime Minister,

I am writing to express my concern about the insufficient measures taken to protect and ensure redress for women who are survivors of intimate partner rape and sexual violence.

I am concerned at the low level of reporting by women of intimate partner rape and other crimes of sexual violence in the home in Hungary; at the often inadequate response by the state, police and judiciary to complaints of sexual violence by women; and the continued existence of social attitudes which reinforce the belief that it is acceptable for a husband to force his wife to have sex.

I urge you to fulfill your international obligations to protect women and girls by appropriately addressing the issues of rape and sexual violence in the home as a matter of urgency. I urge you to take all the necessary steps in order to address rape and sexual violence in the home in Hungary. In particular,
Ensure that legal changes and procedural reforms within the police and judiciary take place in order to adequately protect and give redress to women who are survivors of rape and sexual violence in the home in Hungary
Ensure that specialized support services for women who are survivors of rape and sexual violence are available across the country, and that health care and social workers are appropriately trained about the realities, experience and needs of these women
Organize and fund a national public awareness campaign, in cooperation with civil society organizations, to challenge existing prejudices around rape and sexual violence in the home, leading to discriminatory treatment, stigmatization of victims and inadequate response to their complaints

I appeal to you to take all the necessary steps in order to address and break stereotypes around the issues of rape and sexual violence in the home in Hungary.

Yours sincerely,

Yes, I have taken this action
11 years ago

Below Actions Are Still Active.

Please Sign, If You Haven't Already,

And Thanks To Those Of You Who Have Already Done So!

Stop Violence Against Native American & Alaska Native Women in the US
11 years ago

Stop Violence Against Native American & Alaska Native Women in the US

Sexual violence against Indigenous women in the USA is widespread -- and especially brutal. Native American and Alaska Native women are more than 2.5 times more likely to be raped or sexually assaulted than other women in the USA. The violence has been compounded by the federal government’s steady erosion of tribal government authority and its chronic under-funding of those law enforcement agencies which should protect Indigenous women from sexual violence. Please join Native American and Alaska Native women to bring attention to this very serious issue and support the work of the many Native organizations and activists who have been at the forefront of efforts to protect and respect the rights of women. » Learn more.

In 2005, the efforts of activists nationwide led to Congressional reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), which seeks to address domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking in the United States and provide victims with vital resources. The Tribal Title (Title IX) of VAWA was established to address the specific needs of Native American and Alaska Native women.

You can help ensure the rights of Native American and Alaska Native women right now by urging the US government to fully fund VAWA, particularly the Tribal Title (Title IX). Please contact Representative David Obey, Chairman of the Committee on Appropriations, and let him you support VAWA.

When writing your letter:
Express your concern and make a simple request. Letters should be simple, quick and to the point. We usually provide a sample letter with Amnesty's concerns to get you started, but we highly encourage you to write your own. Personalized or individualized messages to Congress have more influence on the decision-making process than do identical form messages.

Sample letter on linked page

Also for the full Report:

Woman forced to divorce
11 years ago

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Woman forced to divorce

Fatima A, a 34-year-old mother of two children, has been forced to divorce her husband following a court case initiated by her half-brother using his powers as her male guardian. If sent back to her brother’s home, Fatima may become a victim of domestic violence.

In August 2005 a court in northern Saudi Arabia ordered Fatima’s divorce from her husband, Mansur, on the grounds that he was from a tribe of lower status than her tribe and that he failed to disclose this when he married her. The court’s decision is based on a customary rule known as Takafu’ or Kufu’. The couple, who are happily married and have two children, do not wish to divorce.

Since the court ruling Fatima has been living in al-Dammam Prison with her one-year-old son for fear of being forcibly returned to her brother’s home. As a divorcee, she would be committing adultery if she tried to contact her husband. In addition to being a criminal offence punishable by at least flogging, this would put her at serious risk of domestic violence.

By living in al-Dammam Prison, Fatima has received short visits from her husband and her daughter who lives with him. The divorce ruling was upheld in January by the appeal court. Following the appeal court ruling, police were reported to have tried to take Fatima to her brother’s home. She refused to go with them, preferring the security of the prison. Prison staff have allowed her to remain in prison, but she remains at risk of being handed over to her brother and of becoming a victim of domestic violence

Although women in Saudi Arabia are increasingly speaking up for their rights, they continue to be subjected to severe forms of discrimination, which facilitate and perpetuate domestic violence.
letter writing guide.

His Royal Highness Prince Naif bin ‘Abdul ‘Aziz Al-Saud
Minister of the Interior
Ministry of the Interior
P.O. Box 2933
Airport Road, Riyadh 11134
Saudi Arabia

Fax: + 966 1 403 1185

Salutation: Your Royal Highness

Your Royal Highness,

I am writing to you to express my concerns about Fatima A, a 34-year-old mother of two children, who was forced to divorce her husband following a court case initiated by her half-brother. The court’s decision is based on a customary rule known as Takafu’ or Kufu’. In January, the divorce ruling was upheld by the court of appeal.

Since the first court ruling Fatima has been living in al-Dammam prison with her one-year-old son for fear of being forcibly returned to her brother’s home. As a divorcee, she would be committing adultery if she tried to contact her husband. In addition to being a criminal offence punishable by flogging at least, this would put her at a serious risk of domestic violence.

Therefore, I call on you to demonstrate your commitment to protecting her human rights by:

· Not enforcing the discriminatory divorce judgment against Fatima A.

· Not returning her to her brother’s home, against her wish.

Yours truly,

(DRC): No justice for rape victim - Bitondo Nyumba
11 years ago

DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO (DRC): No justice for rape victim - Bitondo Nyumba

Justice has yet to be served in the case of Bitondo Nyumba,a 56-year-old woman who died as a result of injuries she suffered when she was attacked and raped by government soldiers in May 2005. But with a new government recently taking office in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), now is the time to renew calls for justice.

Bitondo Nyumba, a widow and mother of four, was beaten and raped on 11 May 2005 in her home in the village of Katungulu, South-Kivu province, by government soldiers.

The attack caused life-threatening injuries. Bitondo Nyumba died on 21 June 2005 due to an infection caused by a reported failure to properly treat her injuries.

Two soldiers were arrested in August 2005 in connection with the rape, but were released after a few weeks without explanation. Bitondo Nyumba’s family filed a legal complaint
and were subsequently threatened by soldiers from the same brigade as the alleged perpetrators. The family was forced to move to another village. The threats reportedly included statements such as: “You are the ones who accused us. Keep your mouths shut.”

Salutation: Dear President Kabila

Dear President

I am writing to urge you and your new government to end impunity for rapes committed by the DRC armed forces and police. In particular, I wish to express concern about the case
of Bitondo Nyumba, who was raped on 11 May 2005 by government soldiers. To date, no one has been brought to justice and her family has been threatened and intimidated. I urge you to demonstrate your commitment to protecting human rights by:

Conducting a prompt, independent and thorough judicial investigation into the rape and subsequent death of Bitondo Nyumba, and bringing the perpetrators to justice.

Protecting Bitondo Nyumba’s family and witnesses from further threats or reprisals.

Ensuring immediate access to adequate and appropriate health services for women and girls who are survivors of rape.

Yours sincerely

March Against Domestic Violence
12 years ago

Did you know that in some countries up to 69% of women have been physically abused by their male partners?

Domestic violence happens in your country. Even if you cannot hear or see it.
Violence at home affects someone near you.

Do something about it: it’s everyone’s business to stop domestic violence!

March now to show that time’s up for domestic violence.

     The flash part of this wasn't working when I tried, but our servers at work are too busy.  AI also has html access if the fancy flash isn't good for you.  Thanks for checking out this thread and for any actions you choose to partisipate in. Davida

12 years ago

Many of the actions below are still active.  Please sign if you haven't already and thanks to those of you who have already sent your letters.

12 years ago

AIUSA’s human rights concerns in Sudan

Sudan: Sudanese government must support ICC investigation of war crimes in Darfur

Learn more about the human rights of women and girls in Darfur (an interactive feature)

The International Criminal Court: Ensuring Justice for Women (A fact sheet)

AIUSA Spring 2006 International Justice Bulletin (in pdf format)

Get involved!

AIUSA’s Program for International Justice and Accountability

AIUSA’s Stop Violence Against Women Campaign

Action: Support the International Criminal Court: Justice Now for the Women and Girls of Darfur
12 years ago
Support the International Criminal Court: Justice Now for the Women and Girls of Darfur


Thousands of girls and women have been raped and subjected to other forms of sexual violence in the Darfur region of Sudan. Inquiries by the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court identified “high numbers of…mass rapes and other forms of extremely serious gender violence”, and a UN Commission of Inquiry found that these abuses amount to war crimes and crimes against humanity. Since the launch of the ICC the investigation in June 2005, however, authorities in Sudan have publicly refused to comply with ICC requests or otherwise allow the Court to conduct investigations in Darfur.

The situation in Darfur was referred to the ICC by the UN Security Council in March 2005. The ICC is the world’s first permanent court able to hold individuals criminally responsible for genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes. It can play a unique role in combating impunity for the worst crimes of violence against women.

Read more.

Abuse of US Women in Custody
12 years ago
Abuse of Women in Custody: Sexual Misconduct and the Shackling of Pregnant Women

Many states fail to adequately protect incarcerated women from sexual misconduct at the hands of corrections staff and allow the dangerous practice of shackling inmates during the third trimester of pregnancy -- including during labor and delivery. The following report examines the current laws, policies and practices in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and the U.S. Bureau of Prisons regarding custodial sexual misconduct (CSM) and the shackling of inmates who are pregnant or giving birth. »

Take Action to Help Stop Shackling of Pregnant Women in Prisons in: Policy Guidelines
An Updated State-by-State Survey of Polices and Practices in the USA

Click on a state for a summary of existing legislation, policy and practice.

Thank you
12 years ago

Thank you, Davida, for posting all of this. I will try to find the link from the UN Secretary General's recent report on Domestic Violence. (It's somewhere on my busy and health issues as of present). The report describes Domestic Violence as pandemic... and escalating...

Historic Human Rights Dates
12 years ago
The following dates are great opportunities for you to organize events and activities throughout the year. Holding an anniversary event is a great way to attract new members and focus media attention on human rights issues.

February 6
International Zero Tolerance to Female Genital Mutilation Day

March 8
International Women's Day

August 26
National Women's Equality DayHonors the anniversary of women in the United States winning the right to vote

October 1
National Domestic Awareness Month

November 20
Universal Children's Day (UN)

November 25
International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women

December 10
International Human Rights DayCommemorates the anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights signed in 1948. Contact your local Amnesty International chapter to get involved, call 800-AMNESTY, or visit
Another disturbing video
12 years ago
Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault
12 years ago

Thank you for posting on Domestic Violence, such good information. I have been a DV Advocate past 5 yrs and just recenly I was able to address some of the issues relating to DV in India and also UAE. Certain societies are in complete denial. That hurts a lot as I see that in front of my eyes how a woman is being treated by her own family.

Still there is lot to be told and educate people in regards with DV and SA both.

Action - France: Dial Shelter helpline needs more publicity
12 years ago
France: Dial Shelter helpline needs more publicity

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Many women in France - like women all over the world - know little of their rights and what help is available to them. As a result, they find themselves terribly isolated in trying to deal with a violent husband or partner. L'Escale helps run a telephone helpline, but the helpline number is not widely known. Write to the Vice President and Sous-Prefet asking them to urgently launch a publicity campaign for the telephone helpline number for the project "Femmes Victimes de Violences 92"to help women suffering from domestic violence. Print this action: PDF | Read more »

Action - Paraguay: Urgent Need for State Shelters
12 years ago

Paraguay: Urgent Need for State Shelters

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Violence against women and girls in the family is one of the most serious problems facing Paraguay. In more than a third of cases the abuser is known to the victim. In 2005 the Women’s State Secretary of Paraguay signed an agreement to refer women at risk of violence to a church-based organization called the Hogar gratuito los entusiastas (The Enthusiasts Free Shelter). The shelter was set up to provide a safe place, food and accommodation for women fleeing violence. However, it is woefully under-funded. Write to the President of the Republic of Paraguay asking for state refuges to be set up and for increased resources and support to be given to existing refuges like Hogar gratuito los entusiastas.
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Action - Georgia: More Shelters Desperately Needed
12 years ago

Georgia: More Shelters Desperately Needed

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There is a desperate need for more shelters in Georgia. Although the recently-adopted Law on Domestic Violence stipulates that shelters should be set up under the Ministry of Labour, Healthcare and Social Protection, action to implement this has been postponed until 2008. Meanwhile the queue of women waiting for a place gets longer. Eliso Amirejibi, the AVNG’s regional coordinator, recently said: "The demand is so high. How can we cope? We desperately need more shelters now."
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Action - Mongolia: Public Budgets Must Finance More Women's Shelters
12 years ago
Mongolia: Public Budgets Must Finance More Women's Shelters

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Domestic violence affects an estimated one in every three women in Mongolia – and it is on the rise. Yet there are only four shelters serving the needs of such women in the entire country. Of those four, one operates in Mongolia's capital, Ulaanbaatar. Until recently, it had not received its share of government funding for 2006. The government provides only 10 per cent of the shelter's funding. The rest comes from private donations. Write to the Prime Minister, Miegombyn Enkhbold, and Minister of Social Welfare and Labour, Luvsangiin Odonchimed, asking them to allocate funds without delay for new and existing women's shelters.
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Action - Russian Federation: Women's shelter needs funding
12 years ago

Russian Federation: Women's shelter needs funding

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In 1998 a group of people in Barnaul formed Women’s Alliance, an organization that provides training for police and social workers, and supports women who have suffered violence. In August 2004, in cooperation with Women’s Alliance, a state-sponsored crisis centre was opened in Barnaul. It is one of the few in the country that has a 24-hour telephone hotline. However, it does not have a shelter – a place where women can find temporary protection. The shelter is desperately needed. Too often, women in Altai Region make a complaint about domestic violence but withdraw it the next day because they know they will have to carry on living with the perpetrator. Write to Head of the Administration of Altai Region, urging him to ensure that a women’s shelter in Altai Region is built. Print this action: PDF | Read more »

Action - Canada: Indigenous women and girls lack critical government support
12 years ago
Canada: Indigenous women and girls lack critical government support

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Founded more than 27 years ago by a group of Indigenous women activists and non-Indigenous supporters, the Native Women’s Transition Centre filled a major gap in crisis support services for the growing numbers of Indigenous women and children moving into Winnipeg who had nowhere else to turn. Today, the centre continues to serve women and girls who have become uprooted from their own families and communities while facing systemic racism within non-Indigenous society. No other organizations offer culturally specific services that recognize and honour the unique needs, experiences and values of Indigenous women. Its work is being jeopardized by the failure of the government to provide consistent funding on a long-term basis. Write to the Canadian authorities asking that they establish a comprehensive plan of action to stop violence against women, with particular attention to the specific needs of Indigenous women.
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Action - South Africa: Shelter Under Threat
12 years ago

South Africa: Shelter Under Threat

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Since 2004, the Sinethemba Shelter for Domestic Violence Victims has offered survivors like these a temporary haven. Sinethemba, which means "we believe," is the only lodging of its kind in the south coast region of KwaZulu-Natal province. It works closely within a referral system that includes police stations, hospitals, courts and the Department of Social Welfare and Population Development. However, all this work may come to an abrupt halt because the existing shelter house, which Sinethemba has been renting, has been put up for sale. Write to the KwaZulu-Natal Provincial Minister of Local Government and Provincial Minister of Social Welfare and Population Development, urging them to help the Sinethemba Shelter obtain safe and appropriate premises for the long-term.
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Action - Ireland: Stop cutting funds for women's shelters
12 years ago

Ireland: Stop cutting funds for women's shelters

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Thousands of domestic violence helpline calls are missed every year in Ireland due to funding cuts. Women survivors of rape are forced to wait months for counselling. The government of Ireland is systematically failing to protect women from violence in the home. It must fulfil promises to fund a shelter for women in County Sligo, and to increase funding across a range of services for women. Yet the Department of Health and Children, which funds services addressing violence against women, has had its budget frozen at 2003 levels for the third consecutive year. Write to the Irish authorities urging funding to complete the building of a crisis refuge for the women of Sligo, Leitrim and West Cavan.
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Action - Bahrain: Adequate housing urgently needed
12 years ago

Bahrain: Adequate housing urgently needed

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A lack of adequate temporary housing in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) -- Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates – means that women have little opportunity to seek redress in a secure and safe environment. There are no government-supported shelters for women who have suffered violence in GCC countries. Charitable organizations and some embassies have attempted to house survivors of domestic violence in homes or housing facilities. However, the few such homes that exist are often only able to offer limited help. Write to the Secretary General of the GCC, calling on all governments of the GCC to take immediate action to provide women and girls suffering from violence with adequate housing and other support. Print this action: PDF | Read more »

Action - Belgium: Shelter in Dire Need of Funds
12 years ago

Belgium: Shelter in Dire Need of Funds

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Women abused at the hands of partners and other family members have been able to turn to the Centre for the Prevention of Domestic and Family Violence in Brussels for three decades. But the Centre's valuable service is at risk. The government must make sure that Belgium's first ever shelter for women does not have to go on turning down desperate appeals for help. Write to the Belgian authorities urging them to ensure that the Centre for the Prevention of Domestic and Family Violence is provided with the funds it needs. Print this action: PDF | Read more »

Action: Venezuela: Three Shelters Are Not Enough
12 years ago

Venezuela: Three Shelters Are Not Enough


Only three domestic violence shelters currently exist in Venezuela’s 336 municipalities in 24 states. This is despite the fact that the country’s law on domestic violence, adopted in 1998, promotes the opening of shelters in local municipalities. The law also states that the National Institute of Women (INAMUJER) should support local municipalities to open shelters. Write to the Minister of Popular Participation and Social Development to urgently support INAMUJER’s negotiations with the municipalities to establish a minimum of one domestic violence shelter in each of the 24 states and support the three existing shelters with funding. Print this action: PDF | Read more »

The Danger of Amber Alerts
12 years ago

I'm very concerned that the Amber Alerts have become a new tool for violence against battered, protective mothers trying to escape with their abused children.

Most battered, protective mothers lose custody of their abused children to a violent criminal batterer/child abuser due to rampant family court corruption in America. According to, the estimated percentage of battered mothers losing custody to a violent batterer/child-abuser is 98%. Shocking, since children are at least 12 times more likely to be abused by their fathers as opposed to their mothers (liznotes).

A good rule of thumb: if an amber alert is issued and the abductor is identified as the mother--do not report. Abet? Yes. Aid? Absolutely. Report and you will most likely get them killed... Do you need to be told to have little respect for a government that promotes violence and murder against women and children?

Violence Against Women in the U.S.
12 years ago

Taken from: Violence Against Women Taskforce, CA


  • One in 4 girls and 1 in 7 boys will be molested by age 18 (National Action Against Rape).
  • Eighty-three percent of women with disabilities will be sexually assaulted in their lifetime (Stimpson and Best, 1991). One out of three women in the overall population will be raped in her lifetime (U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics).
  • Nine out of 10 rapes are never reported (U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics).
  • Nearly 2 in 3 female victims of violence were related to or knew their attacker; almost 6 times as many women victimized by intimates (18%) as those victimized by strangers (3%) did not report their violent victimization to police because they feared reprisal from the offender; police were more likely to respond within 5 minutes if the offender was a stranger than if an offender was know to the female victim(Ronet Bachman, U.S. Department of Justice Bureau of Justice Statistics, Violence Against Women: A National Crime Victimization Survey Report, January 1994).
  • Ninety percent of all family violence defendants are never prosecuted, and 1/3rd of the cases that would be considered felonies if committed by strangers are filed as misdemeanors (News from U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer, September 2, 1993).
  • Seventy-five percent of survivors in the general population and 84% of college students knew their attacker (National Victim Center and Crime Victims Research and Treatment Center; Mary P. Koss, Ms. Project on Campus Sexual Assault).
  • Ninety-three percent of all rapes are between people of the same race (U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics).
  • Violence is the reason stated for divorce in 22% of middle-class marriages (EAP Digest November/December 1991).
  • Lesbians and gay men experience domestic violence at about the same rate as heterosexuals (Renzetti, 1992; Letellier, 1994).
  • If all occurring domestic violence were reported to the police by women, one-third of the incidents would be classified as felony rapes, robberies, or aggravated assaults and the remaining two-thirds would be classified as simple assaults (National Institute of Justice, U.S. Department of Justice, 1990).
  • Two/thirds of women murdered in San Francisco were killed by their spouse or partner (SFPD, 1990); nationally, 28% of murdered women were killed by their husband or boyfriend (FBI, 1991).
  • Between 15 and 25% of pregnant women are battered (NCADV, 1993).
  • Fifty percent of all homeless women and children in the U.S.A. are fleeing domestic violence (Sheehan, 1993).
  • It is estimated that 25% of workplace problems such as absenteeism, lower productivity, turnover and excessive use of medical benefits are due to family violence (Employee Assistance Providers/MN).
  • A survey of private sector workers found 53.1% reported being fired, not promoted, not given raises because they had refused to comply with requests for sexual relationships(Gutek, 1985); 56% in another study reported physical harassment (Farley, 1978).
  • Thirty percent of undergraduate women are sexually harassed by an instructor during their college careers (Dziech and Weiner, 1984); 15.9% of graduate women reported being directly assaulted (Bailey and Richards, 1985).
  • Seventy-five percent of faculty were subjected to sexual jokes during their graduate training; 57.8% of the women experienced sexist remarks about their clothing, body, or sexual activities;12.2% had experienced behavior amounting to rape "unwanted intercourse", fondling or molestation (Bond, 1988).
Action - Denmark: Migrant Women at Risk
12 years ago

Denmark: Migrant Women at Risk

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Each year 64,000 women in Denmark experience violence, around 60 per cent of them in their own homes. Migrant women are one of the largest populations at risk due to their limited rights of residency under immigration law. UN committees monitoring discrimination against women and racial discrimination have expressed concern about the situation facing women who arrive in Denmark as part of family reunification procedures. Write to Dannerhuset expressing your support for their work as a shelter for women who have experienced violence. PDF | Read more »

Action - GCC countries: No escape for women survivors of violence
12 years ago
Gulf Cooperation Council countries: No escape for women survivors of violence

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Women in Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries are forced to remain in abusive situations because they have nowhere else to go. A lack of adequate temporary housing in the GCC – Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates – means that women have little opportunity to seek justice in a secure and safe environment. Write to the Secretary General of the GCC, calling on all governments of the GCC to take immediate action to provide women and girls suffering from violence with safe and adequate housing and other support. Print this action: PDF | Read more »

Action - Turkey: Shelters Need Government Support
12 years ago

Turkey: Shelters Need Government Support

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According to law, over 3,000 shelters should be opened around Turkey. To date, not a single municipality established a new shelter because of limited budgets and a lack of political will. Across Turkey, there are currently 16 shelters in total. One of them is Mor Çatı (Purple Roof), a well-known women’s solidarity center in Istanbul. For the last 16 years, the center has helped women fleeing from domestic violence by providing shelter and psychological and legal support.The Turkish government needs to immediately support shelters and urgently open new ones by providing funding and practical support.
Print this action: PDF | Read more »

Found out something!
12 years ago

I was amazed to find that Verizon is so involved with stopping Domestic Violence!  They are offering cases for their "chocolate" phones and every single penny of the price goes to the National Network against Domestic Violence!  AND, I found out, we can give them our old cell phones and they will clean them and give them to women and children (and even sometimes men!) so these people can use them.

They may not have any minutes on them, but they can use them to call 911 anytime!  Technology to the rescue!!

God bless Verizon!              Andi

USA: Solidarity with Native American and Alaska Native Run Shelters
12 years ago
USA: Solidarity with Native American and Alaska Native Run Shelters

Facts on Women in the USA:

  • 1 in 4 women will experience domestic violence during her lifetime.
  • 1 in 5 women have experienced an attempted or completed rape.
  • Marital rape accounts for 25% of all rapes affecting over 75,000 women each year.

 AI_16 days USA.jpg

Following the brutal kidnapping, rape and murder of 31-year-old Ivy Archambault (whose Lakota name was Pretty Bird Woman), her sister Jackie Brown Otter, decided to do something for herself, her family and the women living in her community. She worked with the South Dakota Coalition on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault to create a program on the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation to provide advocacy and safety for women.

The program, entitled Pretty Bird Woman House, currently employs one Director/Advocate and one assistant, and has neither a permanent budget nor a shelter facility. Because it does not yet have a shelter, Pretty Bird Woman House currently seeks to find such services off the reservation for victims of violence. Reportedly, between January and July 2005, Pretty Bird Woman House served 67 women and 58 children. It is currently trying to establish a shelter that would provide services for women on the reservation. 

Today there are few options, particularly culturally sensitive options, for Native American and Alaska Native women fleeing violence. Native American and Alaska Native-run shelters are important as they can create culturally respectful spaces and advocacy for Native American and Alaska Native women.

Shelters operated by Native American and Alaska Native peoples provide safety to Indigenous survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking and provide cultural and traditional help to victims. Such shelters and programs are an essential component in addressing the high levels of violence against Native American and Alaska Native women.

Write a message of solidarity to the Native American and Alaska Native women-run shelters in the USA. Do this by sending your messages to Amnesty International USA.

Download the Solidarity Card (PDF) »

Send your messages to:

Women's Human Rights Program
5 Penn Plaza, 16th Fl
New York NY 10001

16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence
12 years ago


The butterfly is a symbol used by many tribal nations to symbolize freedom, new life and the beauty of women.
© Dana Tiger
Join the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence

November 25 - December 10

The 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence is a global campaign running from Nov. 25 (the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women) through Dec. 10 (International Human Rights Day) in which thousands of people and organizations around the world (including Amnesty International) take a stand against gender-based violence. AI's theme this year is 16 Shelters for 16 Days - the importance of creating safe secure shelters for women fleeing violence - and includes actions on 16 countries including the USA. Keep visiting our site not only through Dec. 10 but to the end of January 2007. Add your voice and your action to this global community of activists!

About violence against women and the need for safe shelters: Background »

Send Your Updates

Let us know how YOU are helping to support the establishment of safe shelters during the 16 Days of Activism! Send updates on your activities to us at

Domestic violence: Did you know?
12 years ago

Note: This video has disturbing images, but it is meant to spread awareness of domestic violence, which is so often ignored.


Domestic violence: Did you know?

Domestic violence happens in your country. Even if you cannot hear or see it. The pain is hidden, but is out there.

Watch Amnesty International’s new video on domestic violence:


Belarus: Domestic violence as a secret problem
12 years ago

"He was holding the child in his arms and beating me… You know it is really terrifying when the child’s clothes are covered in blood and he is laughing and saying: 'There, you'll get on your knees now and beg me not to kill you'."

Yelena, a victim of violence in the family.

Thousands of women in Belarus suffer from domestic violence, with little legal protection and almost no support services, according to a new report by Amnesty International.

According to official information obtained by the organization in 2006, nearly 3,000 women were registered as victims of violence in the home in Belarus in 2005, although the actual number is believed to be much higher. As there are no shelters for victims of domestic violence in the whole of the country, these women have nowhere go. The three existing state-run crisis centres are underfunded and provide insufficient support for victims. Many non-governmental organizations (NGOs), which have the expertise and will to help, are stifled by government restrictions on their activities and funding.

Amnesty International's latest report, Belarus: Domestic violence -- more than a private scandal, highlights the valuable work being done by individuals in NGOs and in the state sector. While the government of Belarus has recognized domestic violence as a problem and has taken steps to address the issue, both practically and legislatively, these measures are, so far, inadequate.

"Despite measures that have been taken by the authorities, Belarus is still falling short of its international obligations to protect women’s rights," Heather McGill, Amnesty International's researcher on Belarus, said.

The Criminal Code does not yet define or criminalize domestic violence, although a draft law on the prevention and elimination of domestic violence was drawn up in 2002. While Amnesty International considers this draft law a positive measure, the organization is concerned by elements of it. In particular, the clause regarding "victim behaviour" could serve to incriminate women for provoking violence and thus undermine the state's obligation to protect them. The organization believes this clause should be removed and that the definition of domestic violence, in both the Criminal and Administrative Codes, should be in line with the UN Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women.

Perpetrators of domestic violence continue to act with impunity because only a small fraction of women exposed to violence in the home actually report the crime to the police. Women are deterred from reporting violence because of fear of reprisals from abusive partners, fear of prosecution for other offences, self-blame, fear of shaming the family, low self-esteem and financial insecurity.

"Lack of political will to combat domestic violence, as well as ongoing discrimination caused by gender stereotyping, is depriving women of their basic rights."

The report calls for the government to take measures to increase public awareness of domestic violence and to encourage women to speak out.

Vera's husband, Oleg, beat and partially strangled her for sexual enjoyment on a regular basis for 23 years until her death in 2005. Police were called by neighbours numerous times but Vera did not complain out of fear of her husband, a former policeman. She was taken four times to hospital after severe beatings but her husband bribed policemen and medical personnel so that his crimes would not be reported. Vera was found dead with a noose around her neck. On 26 May 2006, Oleg was charged with driving his wife to suicide. Vera’s family believe that she was murdered and are contesting the charge.

"Women will trust the legal system if they have reason to believe that a prosecution will result in a life free of violence for themselves and their children. Only once there is a coordinated cross-ministerial system of support and protection in place will women turn to the criminal justice system with confidence," Heather McGill said.

"On their return from prison, men often continue to beat their partners. A system of support and protection for women would include access to shelters and, in the long term, alternative affordable accommodation for themselves and their children."

Amnesty International believes that protection for victims of domestic violence must be significantly improved and impunity for violence in the home reduced in Belarus. The organization is calling on the government of Belarus to honour its obligations under international law, with a focus on the following points:
  • Protect women against domestic violence -- all women who have been subjected to domestic violence must have access to full redress and reparation; they must be provided with temporary shelters and long-term housing.
  • End impunity - remove the "victim behaviour" clause from the draft law and define domestic violence in line with the UN Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women, in both the Criminal and Administrative Codes.
  • Raise awareness - the government must run public awareness campaigns to overcome the stigmatization of victims of domestic violence and encourage women to report such crimes to the police.
Defending defenders
12 years ago


Defending defenders

Many human rights defenders face risks, but women encounter additional risks because of their gender and the issues they address. Women who defend the human rights of women, especially women from marginalized racial or ethnic groups, can find themselves under threat of violence. Because they often challenge cultural, religious or social norms about the role of women in their society, they are frequently subjected to harassment and repression, ranging from verbal abuse to sexual harassment, rape, and murder.

Despite the risks and difficulties, activists – men and women -- continue to defend women from violence and to confront discrimination. Time after time, women refuse, resist and demand remedies.

Defending women's right to health
One of the issues women defenders campaign on is the right to health.

AI_women_crowd_rape.jpg  HEALTH
Protecting the right to health

Video on HIV/AIDS

Flight and violence
12 years ago

Flight and violence

Displaced women often find themselves caught in an inescapable cycle of violence. Whether asylum-seekers, refugees or internally displaced, they may flee from one dangerous situation, only to find themselves in an equally hazardous one, vulnerable to violence and exploitation.

Many displaced women are abused during their flight in search of safety. Refugee women and girls experience violence by smugglers or traffickers, border guards, police and other law enforcement officers and sometimes even by other refugees.

The pressures of life in camps for refugees and the internally displaced often lead to an increase in sexual and domestic violence against women. Community and family structures which might otherwise protect women often break down with the pressures of displacement.

Frequently women may be separated from family members during flight, or their family members may have died. Camp settings may further make women targets of violence as they may have to walk miles to collect firewood or water, especially where camps are located close to borders or in bandit zones.

Women and girls are sometimes not even safe from humanitarian aid workers - the very people charged with responsibility for the welfare of refugees and the displaced.

In the face of diminishing rations or cuts in social welfare, women and girls may be forced into prostitution or to pay police officers or other government officials “sexual bribes”.

Paper: Overview of International Standards and Policy on Gender Violence and Refugees June 2006.

Find out more about Refugees and Migrants

Sarah, a human rights activist from Sudan, resisted violent pressure to conform to the restrictions placed on women by the National Islamic Front.

Because of her human rights work Sarah was detained three times and suffered sexual violence, beatings and threats. She continued her activities, but with her life in serious danger, she eventually fled Sudan.

Once in the UK she faced an arduous and lengthy legal process for recognition as a refugee. She has finally been recognized as a refugee. Her struggle for the rights of women in Sudan continues.

12 years ago
It certainly is heart breaking to see so much abuse around the world. It's even in my country. I think domestic abuse is one of the oldests and most ignored. Sad but true. Davida you certainly have done a great job of bringing this to the fore front.
Women and war
12 years ago

Women and war

Please click here for interactive Flash version

No region of the world escapes the horror of war.
Seventy-five per cent of the casualties of war are civilians.

Women bear the brunt of this violence.

AI_women_crowd_rape.jpg RAPE
Rape as a weapon of war
Slideshow | Video

AI_woman_walks_past_tank_Impact.jpg  IMPACT
Women bear the brunt of conflict
Slideshow | Video

AI_svaw_rally_WayForward.jpg  WAY FORWARD
Women take a lead
Slideshow | Video | Essay

AI_children_look_at_schoolbook_Resources.jpg  RESOURCES
Campaign reports and links

Violence at home
12 years ago


Violence at home

For countless women home is not a refuge but a place of terror. Every day, in every country in the world, women and girls are beaten and sexually assaulted by husbands, fathers, and other family members.

  • The Russian government estimates that 14,000 women were killed by relatives in 1999, yet the country still has no law specifically addressing domestic violence.
  • In South Africa, more women are shot at home in acts of domestic violence than are shot by strangers on the streets or by intruders

All too often, violence against women in the family is considered a private matter and not treated by the authorities as a crime. However, all governments are responsible for protecting their citizens from abuse, whether committed by officials or by private individuals (“non-state actors”). If a state fails to prevent, investigate and punish acts of violence against women with sufficient diligence, then it shares responsibility for the abuses.

Violence in the family includes battering by intimate partners and others, sexual abuse of female children and young women, marital rape and traditional practices harmful to women. Abuse of domestic workers can also be considered in this category. Violence in the family is often physical, psychological, and sexual.

Mary, from Nairobi, Kenya, told Amnesty International that she had been repeatedly beaten and raped by her husband after he “inherited” her from his brother in 1993. She never went to the police as she felt they would not take any action because it was “a home affair”.

Justice not excuses
12 years ago

Most acts of violence against women are never investigated. The perpetrators are not prosecuted. They commit their crimes with impunity. This contributes to a climate where violence against women is seen as normal, rather than criminal, and where women do not seek justice because they know they will not gain it.

In some countries, laws discriminate against women or are flawed so that they fail to protect women from violence.

Women may be prevented from seeking justice because they cannot afford to access the legal system, or fear losing custody of their children.

In many countries, police and prosecutors are unwilling to believe and assist women abused by members of their family. Women who report abuse are told that it is a private matter or that it was “incited” by the woman’s own behaviour.

In these countries the state has failed in its obligations under international lawto respect, protect and fulfil the rights of women. The state is responsible for investigating and prosecuting acts of violence against women.

Too often, communities are complicit in the state’s failure to bring perpetrators to justice. Individuals and communities have vital roles to play in overcoming impunity and gaining justice.

Find out more about impunity for violence against women:
Flawed laws
Failure to implement
The duties of states
Community complicity
International law

Worldwide scandal
12 years ago

Violence against women is the greatest human rights scandal of our times.

From birth to death, in times of peace as well as war, women face discrimination and violence at the hands of the state, the community and the family.

  • At least one out of every three women has been beaten, coerced into sex, or abused in her lifetime. This figure comes from a study based on 50 surveys from around the world.
  • More than 60 million women are “missing” from the world today as a result of sex-selective abortions and female infanticide.
  • Every year, millions of women are raped by partners, relatives, friends and strangers, by employers and colleagues, soldiers and members of armed groups.
  • Violence in the family is endemic all over the world; the overwhelming majority of victims are women and girls. In the USA, for example, women account for around 85 per cent of the victims of domestic violence.
  • The World Health Organization has reported that up to 70 per cent of female murder victims are killed by their male partners.
  • Small arms and light weapons are the main tools of almost every conflict. Women and children account for nearly 80% of the casualties, according to the UN Secretary-General.


All over the world, women have led brave and inspiring campaigns against this violence. They have achieved dramatic changes in laws, policies and practices.

But the violence persists.

With the Stop Violence Against Women campaign, Amnesty International is joining the struggle.

Take action now. It’s in our hands. Stop Violence against Women.

Find out more about violence against women:
What is violence against women?
Who suffers?
Why does it persist?
Sexuality and violence
Culture community and violence
Poverty and violence

12 years ago


Thousands suffering in silence:
Violence against women in the family

1. Introduction
"It was as if I had been in prison for years"
Nino married when she was 17.(1) After their wedding her husband forced her to give up her studies in a music school where she was learning to play the violin and prohibited her to meet with friends. When the family had severe money problems Nino’s husband sold her violin. "He phoned me all the time to make sure I was at home. At the same time he allowed himself everything; he always had new girlfriends," Nino told Amnesty International. She reported that her husband did not give her any money. "He bought food for us but he forgot that we also needed clothes. My parents helped me with that," she said. She told Amnesty International that her husband beat her frequently and when he lost his job he started to drink heavily and the beatings intensified. When Nino was pregnant with her second child her husband reportedly hit her in the stomach. He said he did not want the child and would move to live with his lover unless the child was a boy. However, she said that when she gave birth to a boy, the beatings continued. As a result of the beatings Nino had to be taken to hospital twice. When asked about the origin of the bruises and why she lost consciousness she said it was because of an accident. Nino never called the police because she was afraid this would make her husband so aggressive that he would kill her. When Nino told her husband that she would be a good mother to their children but she did not want to have sex with him anymore, he reportedly began a practice of raping her. Nino did not see a way out. "I prayed that he would move out. We lived in his flat, so I could not leave. Otherwise the children and I would have ended up on the street". When she was pregnant with her third child she asked her parents if she could live with them. However, they asked her to endure the situation because they were not able to feed her and her children. "I had a headache all the time from the beatings and I was covered in bruises. Had my children not helped me, I’m sure he would have killed me," recalled Nino. After over 20 years of marriage Nino’s husband moved out to live with his girlfriend. "When he left I felt like a woman again, like a human being. I felt so free even though I had no money and could hardly feed my children," said Nino. Nino learnt later that he was now beating the other woman.

As in other countries throughout the world, thousands of Georgian women are subjected to domestic violence on a regular basis. They are hit, beaten, raped, and in some cases even killed. Many more endure psychological violence and economic control.

According to a recent submission by the Georgian government to the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), "family violence is one of the most widespread problems in Georgia".(2) Apart from women, other family members such as the elderly or children also frequently become victims of violence in families. While acknowledging that the Georgian government should take action to address all forms of violence within the family this document focuses on violence against women perpetrated by their husbands or other intimate partners or former partners, more commonly known as domestic violence or intimate partner violence.

Amnesty International is, among other issues, concerned about the widespread impunity of perpetrators of domestic violence in Georgia; insufficient measures and services to protect the victims of domestic violence including temporary shelters, adequate and safe housing; the absence of a functioning cross-referral system with regard to domestic violence cases between different agencies such as health workers, crisis centres, legal aid centres, and law enforcement authorities; the lack of mandatory government training programmes for police, procurators, judges and medical staff; and the failure to date by key players such as law enforcement officers and the courts to record cases of domestic violence in a systematic manner and to create reliable and comprehensive statistics disaggregated by sex and indicating the relationship between victim and perpetrator.

Please go to webpage to continue this large "in-dept" article

page continued...
12 years ago
8. Provide compulsory training on domestic violence for officials
Fund and implement compulsory training programmes for officials – including police, lawyers, judges, forensic and medical personnel, social workers, immigration officials and teachers – in how to identify cases of domestic violence, how to ensure the safety of survivors and how to collect, safeguard, consider and present evidence.

9. Provide adequate funding
Allocate adequate funding to programmes to address domestic violence in all sectors including the criminal justice system, education, social services, health and housing, for example through a National Action Plan to ensure that assistance is equally available and of comparable quality throughout the country.
Funding should be sufficient to allow the implementation of legislation protecting women from domestic violence, and to provide necessary support and rehabilitation measures for survivors.

10. Provide places of safety for women fleeing violence
Fund and establish sufficient temporary shelters or other places of safety for women, without compromising their privacy, personal autonomy and freedom of movement. Such places should support and assist women’s physical and mental recovery, and help them to access suitable, safe housing in the
longer term.

11. Provide support services for women
Fund and create services for women who have suffered domestic violence, in co-operation with civil society organizations as appropriate, so that they can access the criminal and civil justice systems, including free legal advice when necessary on divorce, child custody and inheritance. Ensure that they have access to adequately funded health-care and support services, including counselling. Services should be linguistically and culturally accessible to all women requiring them.

12. Reduce the risks of armed violence
Remove all firearms from homes where incidents of domestic violence have been reported. Ensure that health and social workers include questions on the possession of guns in all demographic, health and social services surveys.

13. Collect and publish data on domestic violence
Ensure that domestic violence is fully reflected in official reports and statistics, that the collection of qualitative and quantitative data is standardized and disaggregated according to gender and other relevant factors, and that it is open to verification. Ensure that all relevant government departments collect and publish data and statistics on domestic violence, that they share data, and that the data is used by policy-makers in devising effective policies and programmes to address domestic violence.

14. Let women know what they are entitled to
Ensure that women suffering violence have access to information about their rights and the services and support they are entitled to. Police stations, health facilities and other state agencies should be required to publicize information about victims’ rights, including the range of protection measures available. All relevant agencies should be required to draw up, implement and monitor guidelines and procedures covering every stage of their response to cases of domestic violence, specifying what action is to be taken if these standards are not met.

Find this 14-Point Programme and more information at

AI Index: ACT 77/012/2006

14-Point Programme for the Prevention of Domestic Violence
12 years ago

Violence against women in the family – domestic violence – is a fundamental violation of human rights. It is a pervasive, daily reality for women living in every country across the globe. Its impact is devastating on women, their lives, their health, their work and the wellbeing of their families.

Amnesty International calls on all governments to implement this 14-Point Programme for the Prevention of Domestic Violence.

They should act immediately to confront domestic violence, prevent its recurrence and move towards eradicating it totally.

Amnesty International invites concerned individuals and organizations to use their influence to ensure that governments implement this Programme.

The recommendations in the 14-Point Programme for the Prevention of Domestic Violence are interrelated, and they are all important in addressing domestic violence. All of them embody these basic principles:

    • The goal of any action must be to ensure women’s safety, protection and autonomy, as well as their physical, mental and social wellbeing in the aftermath of suffering abuse.
    • Government policies, practices and laws must not discriminate against women, on grounds of gender, or of age, ethnicity, sexual orientation, physical or mental ability, class,
    • language, cultural or religious beliefs, marital, maternal or citizenship status, or place of residence.
    • Governments should consult and work closely with women victims and survivors, and with non-governmental organizations that have experience in addressing domestic violence.

All governments should:

1. Condemn domestic violence
State officials and political leaders at every level, national, district and local, should publicly and consistently condemn domestic violence, highlighting its gravity. They should acknowledge that domestic violence is a human rights violation, and therefore a public concern, not a private matter. Officials may not invoke customs, traditions or religion to evade their responsibility to eliminate violence against women.

2. Raise public awareness of domestic violence
Widespread public awareness campaigns should be launched in schools, colleges, citizens’ forums and workplaces to denounce domestic violence, to remove the stigma from women targeted for violence, and to encourage survivors to seek redress. All available media should be used, including the press, the Internet, lectures and debates, and the campaigns should involve community leaders, municipal politicians, journalists and civil society. All information should be easily accessible and available in local languages.

3. Use the education system to challenge prejudice
Educational materials should be developed and incorporated into curriculums at all levels of the education system, aimed at preventing domestic violence and challenging ideas that regard domestic violence as acceptable. Teachers, lecturers and other education workers should be part of the effort to overcome prejudices and stereotypes that confine women and girls to subordinate roles and contribute to domestic violence.

4. Abolish legislation that discriminates against women
All laws, including criminal, civil, family and housing laws, should be reviewed to ensure that they comply with human rights principles. Any laws, regulations, or procedures that discriminate against women or that allow such discrimination to persist should be reformed, as well as any laws that facilitate or perpetuate violence against women. New legislation should be adopted as appropriate with the aim of ensuring equality for women.

5. Ensure that domestic violence is a criminal offence
Ensure that all forms of domestic violence are treated in law and practice as human rights violations and criminal offences, that acts of domestic violence are investigated, prosecuted and punished in accordance with the gravity of the crime, and that victims receive appropriate reparations. No matter where in a country a woman lives, her complaint should be pursued with equal determination
and thoroughness.

6. Investigate and prosecute complaints of domestic violence
Ensure that the police provide a safe and confidential environment for women to report domestic violence, that there is mandatory registration of all complaints of domestic violence, and that all such complaints are promptly, impartially and effectively investigated. When there is sufficient admissible evidence, suspects should be prosecuted in accordance with international standards for fair trial and without recourse to the death penalty or corporal punishment, while ensuring that sentences are commensurate with the gravity of the crime. If a case is dropped, the reasons should be made public.

7. Remove obstacles to prosecutions for domestic violence
Investigate why reporting, prosecution and conviction rates for domestic violence are so low, and tackle obstacles and shortcomings identified by these investigations. Court procedures and rules of evidence should be reformed so that they do not discourage women from pursuing complaints. Complainants,
witnesses and others at risk during investigations and prosecutions should be protected from intimidation, coercion and reprisals. There should be close co-operation between the police, the prosecution authorities and other authorities and services at the local level.

August 2006
12 years ago

Double victimisation: some women are punished for suffering domestic violence

“I had five children with my former husband who died in the war and now one with my new husband. Since we have been together my new husband has been neglecting the children and all he wants is sex. I don’t want to have sex because I am a new mother and I am tired. …. I really did not know what to do. My family is not around as most died in the war and everyone else in the community, including the Chief, is advising me to just sit tight. They warned me not to go to the police about my husband raping me.”
- A woman in Makeni town, Bombali district

Watch a play on domestic violence in Sierra Leone

In rural Sierra Leone, where 80% of the population live, only customary law is recognized. Sierra Leonean customary law forms part of the common law and is largely unwritten. Customary law allows men to chastise their wives under certain circumstances.

Village chiefs are traditionally the first point of contact outside the family on matters of domestic violence against women perpetrated by a husband or male relative. Chiefs, unaware of the criminal nature of these abuses are reluctant to punish perpetrators, believing that this would bring disharmony to the community and leave women without any financial support.

To add to this is the government’s reluctance to interfere - reinforcing the belief that the state has no business in family and community affairs. But it is the government’s responsibility to protect women from this human rights abuse.

The unwillingness by the state and chiefs to pursue justice for women creates a culture of impunity. With nowhere to turn, women are simply forced to accept domestic violence, and give up demanding justice or protection.

The government must provide paralegal and legal aid to women and punish chiefs when they make illegal rulings against women.

Read more on Sierra Leone:
No one to turn to: Women’s lack of access to justice in rural Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone: Women face human rights abuses in the informal legal sector

July 2006 - Spain
12 years ago

Women in Spain: more rights, but obstacles remain

“I regret having filed a complaint, because my family would not have found out and I would still be in the position I am in now: alone, without any help, working like a Trojan so that my children and I can get by.”
- Testimony of Laura, April 2006

Watch a video on domestic violence in Spain

One year ago, Spain’s Law Against Gender-based Violence came into force. This law is designed to bring together in a single instrument measures to prevent violations, to assist and protect victims of violence, as well as measures to prosecute, investigate and punish any offence committed. The law is a big and positive step forward, but a year on, obstacles continue to stand in the way of a life free from violence against women.

Women like Marta, whom not even one doctor was prepared to help escape the violence after 13 years of assaults. Or Nuria, who fled from her husband to a safehouse but could not stay there because she was from another autonomous region. Like Maria, who only managed to file a complaint after two days of being told “come back tomorrow”, by the national police and the Guardia Civil. Or Sonia, who felt defenceless with a lawyer she did not know, who committed her to an agreement without her consent.

They told us their stories. Julia was not so lucky. During the fast-track trial she did not have a chance to show her injuries, so she was unable to obtain a restraining order. She was murdered by her husband. Nor Susana could tell us her story: now her desperate mother is seeking justice because no-one did anything to prevent her husband killing her.

Increasing numbers of women are reporting violent assaults and their hopes for a new life without violence must not be dashed. If the Law Against Gender-based Violence is to become an effective tool, resources must be allocated and measures put in place so that women’s human rights can become a reality.

Month 4 -- Jamaica
12 years ago

Impunity for sexual violence in Jamaica

Each year thousands of women and girls in Jamaica are sexually assaulted in their communities, their schools, their workplaces, their homes and in the street. The state is failing to effectively prevent and investigate these abuses and also to punish the perpetrators.

For many women and girls in Jamaica, domestic violence includes sexual violence, and women are not always protected from rape within marriage. Marital rape is not a statutory crime, meaning that prosecution is difficult. In addition, sexual violence is spreading sexually transmitted diseases such as HIV/AIDS.

Brenda’s husband was physically abusive, and she suspected he was having affairs. She asked him to wear a condom during sex but he refused. Despite knowing he was HIV positive, he regularly beat her and forced her to have unprotected sex. Brenda nursed him until he died. Now she is HIV positive, and fears prejudice and exclusion from her local community.

In Jamaica, prosecution of marital rape, due to lack of clarity in the law and discrimination against women, is difficult if not impossible. Legislation does not adequately address incest or sexual abuse either. This leads to impunity for perpetrators of these crimes, and leaves women and girls without the clear protection of the law.

Recommendations to make marital rape a statutory crime were incorporated into the draft Offences Against the Person Act in 1995, but this Act has still not been passed by Parliament. According to the current law, yet to be amended, sexual offences against girls over the age of 12 are punishable with a lesser sentence than sexual offences committed against younger children.

By ignoring these issues, the Jamaican government is failing to protect Jamaican women from human rights abuses; and failing to implement the most basic obligations under international law.

Act now!
Write to the new Prime Minister of Jamaica, Portia Simpson Miller, calling for urgent reform.

No woman no cry - listen to AI Jamaica's radio clip

Read more in our new report Sexual violence against women and girls in Jamaica: 'Just a little sex' launched on 22 June

Month 3 -- Albania
12 years ago

Unequal partners

Not all women in Albania have the same rights as men.

At least a third of all women in Albania are estimated to have experienced physical and psychological violence at the hands of their husbands or partners. In some parts of the country, the figure is much higher.

“They say in Albania, one in three women are beaten by their husbands, in Shkroda we say it’s two and a half out of three.”
- A doctor in the town of Shkodra

Women in some areas of Albania are brought up to believe that domestic violence is a normal part of marriage. Discriminatory customary law, known as Kanun, is used to justify the control of women’s behaviour. In a few extreme cases, women and girls believed to have transgressed notions of family honour have been murdered. Even at the highest levels of the government, police and judiciary, violence against women is widely tolerated on grounds of tradition.

“Every day…if I had bruises around one eye, he hit the other one, every day for three years so that you would not be able to recognize me, my face wasn’t a human face.”
- “D.K.”

Many women are threatened, injured or killed with guns, including pistols or automatic rifles. An estimated 200,000 small arms and light weapons are in circulation and easily available following the breakdown of law and order in 1997, which included the widespread looting of government arms depots.

“He came home and threatened to kill me with a pistol in front of the children, and the children protected me and came and stood in front of me and they said, ‘You have to kill us first’.”
- “F.”

Despite Albania’s obligations under international human rights standards, the government has failed to protect women from violence by their husbands or partners. But there is a movement for change in Albanian society. In January 2006, a coalition of Albanian NGOs presented a petition to parliament signed by 20,000 citizens calling for a new law.

Women’s organizations have worked since 1996 to challenge violence against women. They have run awareness-raising programmes, trained state officials and documented domestic violence. They have also established telephone help-lines, counselling centres, shelters and given free legal assistance and employment advice.

“There are no structures, no institutions; you have to do it on your own, there’s no protection. I could not have done it without the shelter and the telephone line. Thank god for the shelter that gave me help, and the hope to start my life again.”
- “P.”

Although the work of NGOs is a positive development, the Albanian government must pass a law criminalizing domestic violence, helping the police and judiciary to prevent and protect women.

Domestic violence is a human rights abuse and must be prosecuted and punished, and survivors compensated and supported. The Albanian state must act with seriousness and speed.

Albanian police official admits 'women do not get access to justice'
Read the report: "It's not her shame"
Protecting women from violence is an obligation, not a choice
Control Arms

And now on to France
12 years ago

Liberty, Equality, Fraternity?

Women in France ask why their human rights are being abused

In France, a woman dies every four days after being beaten by her partner. More than half of those women killed have previously been subjected to domestic violence. Domestic violence is a human rights abuse.

Why are the rights of these women not protected?

In a country which claims to be the cradle of human rights and is signatory of the main human rights treaties, women’s rights to liberty, equality, security and sometimes the right to life, are often abused.

While these rights must be respected and guaranteed by the French government, the reality is that both the prevention of domestic violence and the protection of victims are relatively ineffective.

Protection mechanisms, although they exist, are not working well. Women have little knowledge of their rights and information is not made accessible. Temporary accommodation possibilities for victims of domestic violence are insufficient. And doctors are not always responsive when it comes to making assessments of violations that could be used as evidence in court.

For prevention to work police officers, magistrates, health and welfare workers must receive adequate training. For women to receive support hotlines, shelters and counselling must be easily accessible.

The magistrate: “The charge is that you assaulted a person.”
The accused: “But it wasn’t a person sir, it was my wife.”
- Quote presented by a police commander to the Seminar on Violence against Women and the Law, held on 31 March 2005.

French law does see domestic violence as a criminal offence and the offence is aggravated if the perpetrator is a spouse or cohabiting partner, but judicial processes are not far-reaching enough. “Repeated assault” is not qualified as an offence. Lodging a complaint is a long and complex procedure. And although legal tools do exist, courts remain half-hearted. If a court decides on ‘penal mediation’, as in many cases it does, the aggressor is not punished.

France has many weaknesses in combating violence in the family. It is a widespread crime that is concealed because people think there should be no interference in family affairs. But the State must see this “private” matter as a public affair, like any other human rights abuse. Domestic violence is everyone’s concern and must be eradicated.

By implementing its international obligations, France could become a champion of women’s rights.

Read more
Violence against Women in France – an “Affair of the State”

First Stop Russia
13 years ago

Russia's hidden problem

Women suffer from domestic violence without protection from the state or society

Women in the Russian Federation do not expect much help from the authorities when it comes to domestic violence. Many fear that turning to the authorities will make things even worse. Those women who do ask for protection and justice often encounter a lack of political will and practical support mechanisms. Violence in the family is one of the most pervasive yet hidden of human rights abuses and particularly affects women.

"I was quiet about it for ten years. Because had I opened my mouth it would have been much worse….There was no way out. He had all the money and power. I couldn't go to the police, as he would just bribe them to say that I should stay with him."
- Valeria, a Russian pop singer, who survived several years of severe abuse by her partner, today speaks out against domestic violence.

The Russian state is obliged under international human rights law to enforce the right to life and to mental and physical integrity, yet there is no national legislation that ensures that women are protected from domestic violence. A case in point is Moscow – a city of around 10 million people – with no single shelter for women.

Russian society still too often treats domestic violence as a "private matter" that is explained or excused by "justifications" such as alcoholism, housing problems or unemployment. A high level of acceptance of domestic violence undermines the fact that this human rights abuse is a punishable crime.

"Even if I could hire a lawyer, I would need means to exist. …if ten years ago, there was an organization I could turn to with my children for help, I would not have stayed silent, I would have spoken out."
- Valeria, Russian pop-singer

Positive initiatives by non-governmental organizations as well as among police and local authorities provide hope. But the federal authorities must do much more. Legislation that ensures protection from domestic violence is needed as law enforcement officers and judges are lacking the tools to deal with this crime. And state budgeting for shelters, hotlines, and crisis centres would give people like Valeria a place to turn to in the future.

Watch an interview with Valeria (Windows Media Player)
Read more on Valeria (including transcript of interview) – in English
Watch an interview with Natalia Kivokurtseva head of a women's support centre in the Russian Republic of Tatarstan (Real Player)
Read the report: Nowhere to turn to

Violence Against Women: Information and Actions
13 years ago
| Hot!
"Violence shatters the peaceful image of the home, the safety that kinship provides. None the less, the insidious nature of domestic violence has been documented across nations worldwide."
- UN Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women 1996

Women from all countries and from all religions, cultures and social backgrounds - living in war or peace times - suffer from violence at the hands of their partners, husbands or ex-husbands.

"I really don’t know what it was that evening that made me decide to call the police, but I always say that it was the sight of cleaning up my own blood."
- Lorraine, a British woman, was regularly beaten up by her partner for eight years before telling anybody.

Amnesty International calls on every individual, community and government to add their voice to stop violence against women and end this human rights scandal.


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